Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Office of Internal Audit & Consulting Services work for Colorado School of Mines?

Internal Audit is a Part of CSM.  Administratively Internal Audit reports to Mines’ Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, and functionally it reports to the Finance and Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees. However, it remains independent so it can provide unbiased and objective consulting.

How can I request the services of the internal audit department?

Internal departments can contact the Director of Internal Audit, Shannon Sinclair.

What does the internal audit process look like?

Internal Audits follow these steps: Notification, Information Gathering Sessions, Kick-off Meetings, Fieldwork, Exit Conference, Final Audit Report, Customer Survey, and a Follow-up audit.  Specific information on each step can be found at  the Internal Audit Process.

Why do you conduct follow-up activities after an audit?

The follow-up activities allow Internal Audit to ensure corrective actions are being taken until all findings are resolved.  This is an integral part of Internal Audit's effectiveness, and ensures continued improvement to efficiency in your department.

What should I do if I have a process improvement suggestion for my department or I become aware of waste and abuse?

Feel free to either suggest improvements to management in your department or to Internal Audit. 

What should I do if I become aware of fraud or other illegal activities?

If you have reasonable questions or concerns regarding possible inappropriate activities/conduct, contact the Office of Internal Audit & Consulting Services as soon as possible (303-384-2504).  If you believe serious violations have or are occurring, and you are uncomfortable speaking directly with our office, you may contact the Ethicsline at 1-855-363-0857.  This is an external reporting site provided by EthicsPoint.

What are some common situations that should be reported? 

Issue Example
Accounting Irregularities Questionable accounting practices, management override, omitting information for required disclosures.
Conflict of Interest Undisclosed significant financial interest in research, consulting on research that conflicts with other interests, employee's business conducting business with school.
Distressed or Disruptive Behavior Sleep disturbances, change in personal hygiene, difficulty making decisions, heightened emotional response, self-harm behaviors, expressed suicidal thoughts, drug and alcohol abuse.
Employee Mistreatment/ Personnel Issue Wage and hour issues, bullying, insubordination, inappropriate physical behavior (drug or alcohol use, personal hygiene, threatening behavior)
Environmental Health & Safety Unsafe conditions, behaviors, environmental problem or safety suggestion.
Employee Theft Stealing School resources, stealing cash, abuse of tuition remission.
Executive Management Concerns Misconduct with top-level management involvement.
Faculty Grievances Employee-related concerns (matters directly affecting the faculty member's working conditions or work assignments).
Fraud Theft of University assets for personal benefit, bribes or kick-backs, improper financial reporting, purchase of personal items with University funds, falsification of time sheets or University records.
Nepotism Supervising a family member or spouse.
Personal Relationships Person in position of trust in a romantic or sexual relationship with a student.
Policy or Regulatory Non-compliance Violation of FERPA, not safeguarding sensitive information, export controls, financial policies, BOT policies.
Research Misconduct or Academic Fraud Misuse of sponsored funds, breach of policies, plagiarism, falsification, fabrication or results, departure from accepted practices.
Sexual Harassment/Sexual Violence/ Discrimination Sexual assault, harassment, discrimination, stalking, or domestic violence against an employee or student.
Waste and Abuse Misuse of resources, being charged more for products.
Student Code of Conduct Violation Any situation where student's conduct presents a danger to health and safety of self or others, impinges upon the rights of self or others, or is detrimental to the educational mission and/or interest of Mines.
Workplace Violence Threats, destruction of property, intimidation or bullying, endangerment or safety.

Where can I find the university document retention policy so I know how long to keep certain documents?

The Procurement RulesPDF versionText only version, and page 31 of The University's PoliciesPDF versionText only version are two of the best references for the guidelines on document retention.  In general, you should not fear losing your job unless you are committing fraud.

If I’m visited by an Internal Auditor- should I fear disciplinary actions, such as losing my job?

Fear should never guide your interactions with an Internal Auditor.  Answering an Internal Auditor’s questions helps encourage transparency throughout our organization. More than likely, you will probably walk away with some new ideas from the Internal Auditor about how to make your job easier and more efficient. The goal of an Internal Audit is not necessarily to focus on problems, but to discover improvements that we can all benefit from.  When the university does well, we all indirectly profit from better university performance.

What types of tasks might the Internal Audit department perform?

Confirm compliance with laws, regulations, policies, and contracts. Benchmark performance. Suggest ways for reducing costs, enhancing revenues, and improving profits. Encourage efficiency and effectiveness. Share ideas for best practices that reduce errors and fraud. Ensure segregation of duties so that assets are safeguarded. Deliver consulting, assurance, and facilitation services. Assess ethics, quality, and cost-benefit. Assure that controls exist to mitigate risks. Use audit technology tools to analyze data for reliability and anomalies. …Such diversity gives internal auditors a broad perspective on the organization. And that, in turn, makes internal auditors a valuable resource to management and the board in accomplishing overall goals and objectives, as well as in strengthening transparency and organizational governance.

As a unit head, how may I request the services of the Internal Auditing Department?

Management may contact Shannon Sinclair.  Your request will be reviewed and the director will determine how we may best meet your needs and coordinate review activities based on our audit plan commitments.

Should I be concerned that my audit results are shared with the Finance and Audit Committee?

No, it is standard practice to share results with the Finance and Audit Committee. These can be positive experiences by being proactive and demonstrating willingness to correct any findings through the audit process and report.




Office of Internal Audit & Consulting services

New Office!
1600 Jackson St., Suite 230
Golden, CO 80401

Shannon E. Sinclair
Director of Internal Audit
(303) 384-2504