Fort Sill audit team sets gold standard in military accountability

By Chris GardnerMay 7, 2024

Fort Sill audit team sets gold standard in military accountability
Fort Sill's Internal Review and Audit Compliance Office team earned an outstanding peer review score. (Photo Credit: Chris Gardner) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT SILL, Okla. (May 7, 2024) — Fort Sill's Internal Review and Audit Compliance Office (IRACO) recently earned an outstanding peer review score, marking it as a leader in auditing within the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense.

IRACO's achievement highlights adherence to the strict standards of the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) and its commitment to maintaining excellence in fiscal and operational oversight.

Carri Watkins, chief of internal review, emphasizes how critical peer reviews are in maintaining the integrity and accuracy of audit processes across the military. The Army Audit Agency and the DoD OIG mandate these reviews every three years, and they ensure that audit offices adhere to the strictest standards.

"Fort Sill's IRACO has set the standard for best auditing practices for DoD OIG Army-wide internal peer reviews," Watkins said.

Fort Sill IMCOM’s benchmark practices include:

• Using statements of independence to show that auditors meet the necessary independence requirements during their projects, remain unbiased and that their findings are reliable.

• Following standard operating procedures that align closely with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAGAS), including detailed checklists that guide their reviews.

• Employing quality assurance checklists to verify that all auditing activities conform to established standards.

• Documenting supervisory reviews, which support the credibility and thoroughness of their findings.

• Conducting independent reference reviews to ensure that reports are accurate and fully supported by documented evidence.

These practices enhance the thoroughness of IRACO's audits and ensure they achieve the highest standards of accountability and precision, establishing the office as a benchmark within military auditing.

"We follow our Yellow Book standards. I ensure all employees attend GAGAS refresher courses because audit standards constantly evolve with new requirements," Watkins said.

Watkins, a seasoned auditor whose career transitioned from public accounting to federal auditing, is at the forefront of IRACO's success. She started her auditing career with an accounting firm before moving to the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General, and now she currently leads Fort Sill's audit team.

"This outstanding peer review score reflects the dedication and expertise of our entire team," Watkins said.

The team comprises Kathy Green, previously an Air Force auditor; Mary Torrico-Butler, who worked as an Army G8 budget analyst and Veteran's Administration accountant; and Stacey Corp, with experience in public accounting and TRADOC G8. Watkins credits her team's diverse backgrounds for significantly enhancing IRACO's auditing capabilities and upholding its leadership in military auditing.

Watkins aligns IRACO's vision closely with Fort Sill's strategic objectives, concentrating on high-risk and high-visibility areas to use audits as preventive tools against escalating issues.

"We serve as the Garrison's and Fires Center of Excellence's first line of defense," Watkins said, emphasizing the audits' role in improving processes like military pay, contract management, and facility accountability.

Looking ahead, Watkins's goal is to improve how the team operates and ensure they maintain high standards of accountability by obtaining professional certifications and implementing the latest audit technology.