The audit law (Louisiana Revised Statute 24:513 A. (6)) gives the Louisiana Legislative Auditor (LLA) access to the audit/engagement documentation of the certified public accounting (CPA) firms performing the audit and other engagements of local auditees:
- The legislative auditor shall have the authority to prescribe the terms and conditions of any such audit or review conducted by a licensed certified public accountant and shall be authorized to approve said terms and conditions prior to its commencement and to require the office subject to audit to present said terms and conditions to him for approval...The legislative auditor shall also have access to the working papers of the accountant during the examination and subsequent to its termination.
LLA may ask the CPA firm for audit/engagement documentation for any number of reasons. The request may be made because of a question LLA has about an engagement. LLA may be responding to a question from the state Ethics Board or another state agency about a matter included in an audit report. Or, LLA may have decided to perform a quality control review (QCR) on an engagement.
Whatever the reason, a CPA should respond promptly and fully to any request for audit/engagement documentation made by LLA. Similarly, a CPA should respond promptly to any questions about a local auditee engagement that is not a request for audit documentation – such as a request to revise a report.
Unless otherwise indicated, LLA expects CPAs to respond to all requests within five working days. If a CPA cannot comply with a request made by LLA within five working days (or within the stated time frame), the CPA should respond as promptly as possible to the LLA employee making the request, stating that the request cannot be fulfilled within five working days; the reason why, and an alternative date for completion.
A CPA firm that routinely ignores or responds in an untimely manner to LLA requests is subject to disciplinary actions, up to and including removal of the firm from LLA’s approved list and cancellation of the firm’s approved engagements.
Access to a CPA firm’s audit/engagement documentation must also be given to the successor auditor, or any organization of the Louisiana Board of Certified Public Accountants authorized to perform quality assurance engagement reviews. Access to these parties must be given within two weeks of the request at no charge, exclusive of direct expenses of the access, such as reproduction costs or other granted privileges. Any deviation from this requirement shall be reported to the Legislative Auditor. When such deviations, in the judgment of the Legislative Auditor, serve to hinder the governmental audit process, the Legislative Auditor may, without liability, take possession of all audit/engagement documentation and make it available to the requesting individuals or organizations. The Legislative Auditor may cancel existing engagement agreements and/or refuse to approve future engagement agreements of any CPA failing to follow this provision.