Specialty Teams Imagine scenario one...you are graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and on your big graduation day, your uncle asks "what's next on the horizon? Are you going to put that degree to good use? Where have you looked for a job?". Imagine scenario two...you are an employee at a dead end job where coming into work is a miserable experience. And to add fuel to the fire, you perform tasks that you do not enjoy and nobody listens to your ideas. This sounds all too familiar in today's working world. Guess what!? APA has the solution to these concerns.

The APA is structured into specialty teams which allows current and future employees to effectively and efficiently use their specific skills to enhance and promote the agency’s mission. The diversity of skill sets in the agency creates cross-training synergies that are highly valuable and rarely found in many places of employment. Here at APA, we pride ourselves on hiring diverse individuals with backgrounds ranging from Economics, Accounting, IT, and Business Management just to name a few.

Please click on each of the Specialty Teams to read about them and see which team best fits your skill and the team that most interests you.

Acquisitions and Contract Management

Our team supports prudent contract administration within the Commonwealth by providing those responsible for procurement and contract administration with analysis of financial information and best practices related to contractual services. We review and analyze the effectiveness, efficiency, and economy of various contractual services. Our team takes special interest in monitoring and evaluating long-term contracts such as the Commonwealth Infrastructure Partnership between the Virginia Information Technologies Agency and Northrop Grumman.

Our team seeks to train and develop experienced procurement and contracting experts through both internal and external sources. Team training begins with the Virginia Contracting Officer Program, which provides all team members with a basic working knowledge of Commonwealth procurement law and regulations. The team places additional emphasis on the development of its team members’ ability to research and identify best practices in various contracting environments and in project management. Team members are also encouraged to become Certified Public Accountants.

Budgeting and Performance Management

The Budgeting and Performance Management Team focuses on budget and performance management issues, both at the individual agency level and statewide. Team members monitor budget and performance issues that affect the Commonwealth by attending legislative meetings and monitoring the budget development process. They also analyze budget information to understand changes to the budget from year to year, as well as during the year. Team members receive training in budgeting and performance management and use this knowledge to better identify risks and identify financial management issues on projects.

Our team consists of individuals with varying backgrounds, including accounting and public policy. Team members participate in a wide variety of assignments including yearly budget analysis, performance measurement audits, general agency audits, and specialty team projects. Some of our specialty projects include an annual review of performance measures and a review of statewide budget and appropriation processing controls.

The Commonwealth has emerged as a leader in performance management in government. As a member of this team, you will play a vital role in improving government transparency and accountability in Virginia.

Capital Asset Management

The Capital Asset Management Specialty Team’s main objective is to ensure the proper management, control, and valuation of:

  • • capital assets
  • • infrastructure
  • • depreciation
  • • preventive, corrective, and deferred maintenance
  • • leases and installment purchases
  • • historic treasures

Our team bases its work on a life-cycle approach to capital asset management and accomplishes our objectives through both financial and performance audits. We audit the financial recording and reporting of Virginia’s $36.3 billion in capital assets reported in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This work focuses on the acquisition, capitalization, depreciation, and disposal of assets. The majority of this work occurs at the Department of Transportation on the highway infrastructure and across the Commonwealth at agencies and institutions of higher education for building construction projects.

In our performance audits, we look for opportunities in state government to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes related to capital assets. Our team reviews areas such as fleet management, deferred maintenance, energy performance contracts, and capital outlay. We then research industry best practices and compare them to current practices and recommend ways to bring the Commonwealth’s practices into alignment with best practices, which results in increased efficiency and improved effectiveness.

Our team members enjoy some unique opportunities due to the nature of our audits. While observing assets, team members have seen powerful microscopes, medical equipment as large as an entire room, and machines that measure brain activity. Team members see completed construction projects before the public, including the times our members toured John Paul Jones Arena at the University of Virginia and the Virginia Tech Alumni Conference Center before their grand openings. To enable the team to accomplish its objective, team members receive training in all specialty areas. The team seeks to have every member become a Certified Construction Contracting Officer. In addition, team members receive training on the Commonwealth’s fixed asset and lease systems and in the areas of accounting and financial reporting for capital assets.

Data Analysis

Are you a go-to person who can quickly gain an understanding of complex data and provide valuable information to a team? Are you interested in turning millions of records of raw data into an insightful analysis? Can you find the needle in the haystack?

As the Data Analysis team, we retrieve data from clients’ systems and perform procedures to help the office draw conclusions to meet audit objectives. We provide valuable insight and analytics to increase the productivity and efficiency of our audits. We look for anomalies and fraud throughout all of Virginia’s State Agencies. The more we can draw conclusions from data already provided, the less the auditors must go out into the field and perform manual audit procedures. We proactively seek out and find new ways to obtain, store, and analyze data from all types of systems. The Data Analysis team remains ahead of the auditing curve!

Strategic Risk Management

The Strategic Risk Management Team reviews and assesses agency and institution financial management activities. We rely on the use of data analytics to aid in the identification of emerging areas of risk to the Commonwealth and individual entities. We monitor activities across the various specialties within the office and within the General Assembly as well as legislative professional organizations to identify trends that may impact our work and the work of the Office. Our team uses this knowledge to help develop and monitor the Office's annual work plan, directing the use of our limited resources to areas where they can be of most benefit, focusing especially on those organizations and areas that are not considered mandatory. Our work as a team helps to lead the Office to create projects to answer questions like:

Higher Education Programs

With 14 four year universities and 23 community colleges with over $26 billion in combined assets, the Higher Education team provides audit and advisory services to one of the largest industries in Virginia. Explore how universities set tuition rates, award and administer financial aid, and operate auxiliary activities like athletics, dining services, and housing, all while influencing future Higher Education policy. Team members will apply skills developed in school and on the job to the unique and important challenges facing public Colleges and Universities.

Compliance Assurance

Every year, the Commonwealth receives tens of billions in Federal assistance and collects even more in taxes. State agencies must use these funds according to numerous state laws and other legal agreements. As our team name suggests, we provide assurance that the Commonwealth is complying with the law and the terms of those agreements. We encourage proper management and controls over compliance to minimize financial and legal consequences that ultimately affect the taxpayers. In short, all of the funds that the state receives come with “strings attached”; if the rules are not followed, then management is not fulfilling their responsibility.

Our team is also committed to developing new computer assisted auditing techniques and developing innovative ways to examine statewide compliance.

Here are a few of the questions we help to answer:

  • • Is the state verifying that recipients of assistance programs are actually eligible?
  • • Is the state complying to receive billions in Federal cash?

If you are interested in answering questions like these, then the Compliance Assurance team could be for you.

Local Government and Judicial Systems

The Local Government and Judicial Systems specialty team is responsible for comprehensive audits of the Commonwealth’s 320 courts and performance of reviews of internal controls, system financial information and court procedures. The team is also responsible for audits of Commonwealth Magistrates, General Receivers, and local Constitutional Officers.

We work with local government officials and their auditors on accounting and auditing requirements and prepare and distribute annual local government guidelines related to new standards and audit specifications for requirements that are unique to Virginia. Our team prepares the annual Comparative Report of Local Government Revenues and Expenditures and performs special analyses on local government taxes and other local data. We also perform quality control reviews on local audits performed by CPA firms.

IT Project Management

Our teams primary objective is to follow systems development projects throughout their systems development life cycle. State agencies and institutions spend an increasing amount of resources on system development projects each year and many of them have run over budget, while others have resulted in failure. A major goal of our team is to determine if and when a project may not be progressing as planned, and alert any critical decision makers to this information, thereby mitigating the potential for failure. The typical progression for following a project is as follows:

  • • Attend project meetings and review project schedules to ensure the system is on track and on budget.
  • • Document the project’s progression
  • • If the project requires corrective action, you and the audit director will determine the proper method to communicate this information to the client
  • • Continue following the project’s progress until it is officially closed or determined to be a successful implementation.

Being a member of our team gives you the opportunity to attend system development project meetings where you will interact with various levels of management and project staff. Each team members’ goal is to spend roughly 20-25% of their time each week on systems development specialty work, while the remainder is spent performing financial and performance audits.

Our team also offers excellent training opportunities. All new staff attend project management training that leads to taking the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. The training and certification gives our auditors the credibility when making recommendations to project staff. Some of the projects we are currently following include:

  • • The Virginia Employment Commission’s Unemployment Insurance Modification system
  • • Department of Motor Vehicle’s program to modernize their systems
  • • Department of Social Services Customer Portal project
  • • Department of Professional Occupation and Regulation licensing system

Information Systems Security

Are you interested in ensuring and improving how the Commonwealth of Virginia keeps its most sensitive and critical information protected within information systems and network infrastructure? Are you concerned with helping to ensure that Virginia’s government is capable of responding to threats or disasters of all sizes? If so, a typical day for any member of the Information Systems Security specialty team focuses on all of these issues and many more for clients throughout the State.

Based on risk, you will be challenged to assess different technological environments, and rewarded for obtaining industry-recognized certifications, such as the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and Certified Public Account (CPA). Our team welcomes anyone who has degrees in Accounting, Computer Science, or Information Systems and is also interested in the fields of auditing information systems and security.

Reporting and Standards

Would you like to be on the cutting edge of your profession? Do you enjoy being the first one to learn about changes that affect everyone else? Do you like sharing your knowledge with others? Since all teams at the APA have to be knowledgeable about auditing and accounting standards, the Reporting and Standards team is responsible for ensuring all APA staff are aware of and following the applicable standards. We also coordinate with the various teams in the office to integrate their specialty areas into the APA’s overall audit approach and resources.

Our team’s knowledge of auditing and accounting standards make our team members in high demand on some of the Office’s key audits. Our broad based background affords us the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, including financial statement audits, performance audits, and special projects.

As part of our specialty work, we review proposals for new auditing and accounting standards and draft responses to the standard setting bodies as part of the process that determines standards used by state and local government accountants and auditors throughout the United States. We determine the impact of new standards on audits performed and determine the most appropriate team to address any changes that need to be made to the resources we use to perform our audits. To ensure APA staff are aware of and are following standards, we provide training, perform quality control reviews on select audits, and serve as a technical resource for researching accounting and auditing issues.