The Office of the Auditor General, under the Auditor General Act, audits the financial statements of the Province of Alberta, as well as every ministry, department, regulated fund and most provincial agencies.
An audit is the collection and evaluation of evidence about the fairness of financial statements. By obtaining this evidence, the auditor general is able to provide a high level of assurance to Albertans about whether the financial statements prepared by management are fairly presented and free from material misstatements. An audit includes assessing where errors (misstatements) could occur in the financial statements, testing management’s internal control over financial information and performing additional audit procedures.
The independent auditor’s report accompanying each government entity’s set of financial statements expresses an opinion on whether the financial statements are presented fairly in accordance with applicable standards. The audit, and the auditor’s report, adds credibility to the financial statements by telling Albertans whether the financial statements are reasonable.
This auditing does not mean that the auditor general examines every transaction or guarantees that the financial statements are error free. Millions of transactions are summarized into the province’s financial statements. Audits, therefore, necessarily focus on areas of risk and on the places where errors that matter to users’ understanding of the financial statements as a whole are likely to occur.
These recurring annual audits provide the Legislative Assembly and the people of Alberta with assurance on the quality of government’s financial reporting. The financial statements and the auditor general’s reports are included in the annual reports published by the Government of Alberta, its ministries and their related entities.
When auditing financial statements, we make recommendations to management if we find that an organization could improve its systems in areas such as oversight and accountability for results, internal control over financial management, management of information and related technology or performance reporting. We ensure our recommendations are meaningful by identifying the root causes of the identified weaknesses.