What Happens and Why

     Auditors visit operating managers and their organizations and staff to determine whether or not money is used properly and for the purposes for which it was made available by Congress.  Agency heads also have an interest in proper internal management of their agencies.  There are two basic types of audits:
 
     Audits aimed at ascertaining compliance with the rules and regulations applicable to Federal procurements and the use of money, ranging from small purchases to very large contracts and grants as well as other uses, such as salaries.   These are carried out by agencies specializing in these matters, generally the Defense Audit Agency.  May also be carried out by the Inspector Generals of the agencies or GAO.
Audits aimed at investigating any matter that may be of interest to Congress (for example, policy or management issues), in which case GAO is asked to initiate a study, investigation, or audit.  The head of an agency may also ask the IG to conduct a similar study.  IGs also initiative their own studies as well as carry out studies when requested by Congress. 

Why

     Congress and senior managers have a need to make sure that the taxpayers' money is used as Congress intended.

Agency and Operating Component Actions

      Make sure that they spend the money and take other actions according to the rules and desires of Congress.

Timing

     At any time, even years after the actions were taken. 

Documents and Links

    Audit agencies make reports available when they are completed.  GAO's web site has full reports on its activities.