Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy

Our Mission

The mission of the Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy is to assist the University in fulfilling its vision of being a preeminent comprehensive land-grant university. Our office provides services in three distinct yet related disciplines - audit, compliance, and privacy - in support of Auburn University's three-pronged mission of teaching, research, and service.

The Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy functions in partnership with University leadership to:

  • improve the internal control system and culture;
  • improve and enhance the management of operational, financial, compliance, strategic and reputational risks;
  • enhance governance processes;
  • ensure strong stewardship and management accountability at all levels of the University.

Case In Point: Lessons for the pro-active manager
Volume 09: No 04

This month we continue our review of last year's Case in Point stories with a focus on the category of Fraud/Ethics. In this category, we saw the following breakdown of topics during 2016:

  • Occupational Fraud 39%
  • Conflict of Interest 15%
  • Academic Fraud 10%
  • Grant/Federal Program Fraud 10%
  • General Questions Over Use of Funds 10%
  • Property Theft 9%
  • Other Issues 7%

Occupational fraud has long been the leader in this category. Occupational fraud is defined as, "The use of one's occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of the employing organization's resources or assets." Typically, there are three elements present when an employee makes the decision to commit fraud: pressure (often financial), rationalization (the ability to convince self this isn't wrong), and opportunity (either funds or sometimes purchasing cards).

The strongest defense for preventing occupational fraud are good internal controls. Perhaps the best internal control is managers fulfilling their fiduciary duty and paying attention to what is occurring in their unit. As simple as it sounds, paying attention can substantially decrease the risk that fraud will occur in an area.

Conflicts of interest appear to be a growing issue in this category and occur when an employee has competing interests between their employment role and personal roles. This is an area where proactive disclosure and management is very important. Simply having a conflict of interest does not mean you have done anything improper, but it does mean you need to use caution and proactively ensure the conflict is managed. Employees can run afoul of state ethics laws in this category.

If you ever have questions about this topic or concerns that someone has committed fraud, we suggest you bring those issues forward to us or to your supervisor. One way you can do that is through AU's EthicsPoint anonymous reporting system. We again encourage you to review this month's events across higher education and consider ways you can proactively manage risk here at Auburn University.

(Read more of Case In Point)

Anonymous Reporting Hotline

Auburn University uses the EthicsPoint anonymous Reporting System to enhance communication and empower individuals to promote safety, security, and ethical behavior. Use this anonymous, confidential system to report situations, events or actions by individuals or groups that you believe unethical or otherwise inappropriate. Frivolous or unfounded reports do not help foster a positive workplace. This hotline service does not replace our existing reporting methods for reporting fraud, waste, abuse or other potentially illegal activities. The University continues to encourage stakeholders to report concerns or suspected violations to their supervisor or other campus entities as appropriate. If you are uncertain if a situation violates University policy, is illegal or constitutes harassment or discrimination, you may use EthicsPoint to obtain clarification. We would much rather have you ask questions than let potential problems go unchecked. However, EthicsPoint should not be used for immediate threats to life or property. If the situation presents an immediate threat to life or property call emergency -- 911

Last Updated: October 31, 2016