Auditing (Govmnt)
There are no prerequisites.

Course Description

Interviewing is one of the governmental auditor's most common tasks, and it's also a vital part of a successful auditor/client relationship. This course focuses on how to be a facilitator instead of an interrogator, which improves communication, information gathering, and your relationship with your client. Topics include relationship building, verbal and nonverbal communication, planning and scheduling an interview, asking and responding to questions, steps in conducting an interview, documenting an interview, and follow up. The AICPA's SAS 99 and the GAO Performance Audit requirements under GAGAS for detecting fraud are also covered.

This course qualifies for Yellow Book CPE credit.


Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGAP, CGFM

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGAP, CGFM, converts the complex topics of accounting, finance, auditing, and strategic planning into information that professionals can absorb and use. She’s the author of Accounting Demystified, 2nd Edition; The Four Principles of Happy Cash Flow; and STEP-by-STEP: Building a Persuasive Audit Report.

Leita is an experienced facilitator, having led over 1,200 full or multiday seminars. She has also keynoted numerous conferences and developed over 25 distinct CPE courses, including self-study courses for Western CPE. She was named an Outstanding Presenter by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) in 2014.

Leita worked 5 years with the Texas State Auditor’s Office as both an auditor and a communications specialist. She has owned and operated AuditSkills, a training and professional development company, since 1995. Her clients include EDS, Dell Computer, First Data Corporation, Joseph Eves CPAs, the Texas State Auditor’s Office, among many others.

She’s a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s in business administration. Leita serves on the government conference planning committee of the Texas Society of CPAs (TSCPA) and is a member of the AICPA, TSCPA, IIA, and the Association of Government Accountants (AGA).

Course Specifics

Auditing (Govmnt)
Aug 21, 2017
There are no prerequisites.

Compliance Information

Qualifies for CA Fraud: No

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

Chapter 1

  • Identify the types of interviewers and the characteristics of an interrogation and a facilitated interview.
  • Recognize why it is important to have a productive, friendly relationship with the client.

Chapter 2

  • Recognize the competencies of a good interviewer, behaviors that are not conducive to a positive interview, and how to avoid common interviewing mistakes.

Chapter 3

  • Identify errors an interviewer makes to ruin safety with the client.
  • Identify concepts and techniques that can help the auditor maintain a trustful, pleasant relationship with the client.

Chapter 4

  • Recognize nonverbal communication techniques and nonverbal cues that occur during the course of an audit interview and respond accordingly to what these cues are communicating.

Chapter 5

  • Identify the characteristics of open-ended and close-ended questions and their appropriate use.
  • Recognize reasons why an interviewer asks certain questions and how to respond.

Chapter 6

  • Define terminology applied to evidence in the standards.
  • Identify the three types of evidence and differentiate between each.
  • Recognize when sufficient evidence exists and when the scope of an audit should be modified.

Chapter 7

  • Recognize the requirements for uncovering fraud in the AICPA's Clarified Auditing Standards.
  • Identify the elements of fraud risk using the fraud triangle.

Chapter 8

  • Identify the items that the interviewer should consider while planning an interview.
  • Recognize the various styles of conducting interviews including benefits and drawbacks of each.

Chapter 9

  • Recognize the steps of conducting an audit interview, the purpose of the steps, and the resulting documentation recommendations.

Chapter 10

  • Identify negative listening behaviors and techniques to become a listener.

Chapter 11

  • Classify interview documentation into one of five working paper elements.
  • Identify alternative formats for documenting interviews.

Chapter 12

  • Identify ways to keep an audit interview on track.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – Why Auditors Conduct Interviews

Learning Objectives

Building Relationships

Interrogator vs. Facilitator

Which Are You?

Why Conduct an Interview?

Testimonial Evidence is the Weakest

Get in the Habit of Asking for Evidence

Conduct Focused, Meaningful Interviews

Chapter 1 Review Questions

Chapter 2 – Interviewing Competencies

Learning Objectives

What Not To Do

15 Deadly Interviewing Sins

Twelve Competencies

1. Analyze Background Materials

2. Assure Preparation of the Meeting Site

3. Establish and Maintain Credibility

4. Manage the Emotional Environment

5. Demonstrate Effective Listening Skills

6. Demonstrate Effective Presentation Skills

A Plan:

7. Demonstrate Effective Questioning Skills

8. Respond Appropriately to Participant's Needs for Clarification and Feedback

9. Provide Positive Reinforcement

10. Record Results in a Clear Manner

11. Resolve All Outstanding Issues

12. Evaluate Interviewer’s Performance

Chapter 2 Review Questions

Chapter 3 – Relationship Building

Learning Objectives

Eight Characteristics of a Good Interviewer

Begin by Smoking the Peace Pipe with your Client during the Entrance Conference

Benefits of Establishing a Relationship with the Client

Getting in the Client’s Shoes

Have You Ever Been Audited?

The Client’s Bill of Rights

Keep Several Tasks Going at Once

To Build Trust, Keep the Following in Mind

Your Authority—Keep It

Stay Calm…Imagine a Nice Blue/Green Color

How to Establish a Trusting Relationship


Sometimes You Have to Apologize


Common Ground



Respect their Rituals




Understand the Natural Trust Cycle

Do Not Spew Forth Judgments!

Phrases that Encourage Sharing

People Feel Positively Toward You When You…

Tips from an Experienced Investigator

Chapter 3 Review Questions

Chapter 4 – Nonverbal Communication

Learning Objectives

Attending Skills

Call It Intuition


Body Position




Other Points

What Do You Do with All of This Nonverbal Information?

Chapter 4 Review Questions

Chapter 5 – Asking and Responding to Questions

Learning Objectives

What Should the Process Look Like?

A Little Bit about the COSO Model

Components of COSO

Control Environment

Risk Assessment

Information Systems and Communications

Control Activities

Monitoring Controls

What is Actually in Place?

Prepare Six Open-Ended Questions

What is an Open-Ended Question?

Open-Ended Questions vs. Close-Ended Questions

Wow, that was a Long Process!

Advanced Considerations Regarding Questions

The Flip Side of Questions—When They are Pointed at You!

Responding to Questions Designed to Entangle/Entrap You

Hypothetical Q

Yes-or-No Q

Off-the-record Q

A-or-B Q

Why Q

False premise Q

Open-ended Q

Fend Off Verbal Attacks

Reduce Defensiveness

Use paraphrasing

Be Neutral

Chapter 5 Review Questions

Chapter 6 – Audit Evidence

Learning Objectives

Fancy Talk Helps, but Strong Evidence Walks

That Warm, Fuzzy Feeling

More on What the Standards Say about Evidence

Appropriateness of Evidence

Sufficiency of Evidence

How to Make a Methodology Robust

Consider the Dark Side


Overall Assessment of Evidence

Chapter 6 Review Questions

Chapter 7 – AU-C Section 240

Learning Objectives

Those Rude Questions

This Interview is Going to be Particularly Touchy

The Definition of Fraud

The Fraud Triangle

My Uncle and the Fraud Triangle

The Fraud Triangle Helps You Think Like a Thief

What I Learned from Albert

Uncovering Fraud Risk and Responding to that Risk


What is Required?

What Can I Do to Make the Interviews More Productive?

During the interview, the auditor should:

Interview Questions for Management (Head of the Entity, CFO, etc.)

Required by AU-C Section 240:

Additional questions you might want to ask:

Interview Questions for the Audit Committee

Required by AU-C Section 240:

Additional questions you may want to ask:

Interview Questions for the Internal Audit Director

Required by AU-C Section 240:

Additional questions:

Interview Questions for all Others

Required by AU-C Section 240:

Additional questions you may want to ask:

Chapter 7 Review Questions

Chapter 8 – Planning and Scheduling

Learning Objectives

Planning an Interview

1. Decide on an Objective for Your Interview

2. Develop a Structure/Framework for the Meeting

3. Decide Whether to Conduct a Team Interview or an Individual Interview

Scheduling an Interview

1. Length

2. Time of Day

3. Location

4. Who Will Be Present?

Chapter 8 Review Questions

Chapter 9 – Steps of Conducting an Interview

Learning Objectives

1. Break the Ice

2. Brief the Interviewee

3. Obtain Background Info from Auditee

4. Size up the Situation and Auditee

5. Ask Interviewee if They Have any Questions

6. Ask Questions

7. Summarize

8. Close

9. Document and Evaluate

Steps to Conducting An Interview—Preliminary Work

1. Break the Ice

2. Brief the Interviewee

3. Obtain Background Info from Auditee

4. Ask Interviewee if They Have Any Questions

Corpus Interviewa (the Body of the Interview)

5. Questioning

Follow-Up Questions

6. Summarize and Paraphrase

Finishing the Interview

7. Close

Explain What Happens Next

Leave the Door Open for Follow Up

Ask if They Have Any Questions

Leave Your Business Card

Say “Thank You!”

8. Documenting the Interview

Make Sure That You Conclude and Allow for Follow-Up

Chapter 9 Review Questions

Chapter 10 – Listening

Learning Objectives

Common Listening Mistakes

Scenario #1

Scenario #2

To be a Better Listener

Chapter 10 Review Questions

Chapter 11 – Documenting the Interview

Learning Objectives

Document While the Interview is Fresh!

Options for Organizing Your Memo

The Little Things Make a Huge Difference—Source, Purpose, Procedures, Results, and Conclusions

Defining and Matching the Elements

An Example

Empathy or Self-Interest—Whatever Works!

Last Step: Client Verification

Chapter 11 Review Questions

Chapter 12 – Keeping the Interview on Track

Learning Objectives

Properly Disposing of Information Outside of the Scope of Your Audit

What to Do if the Discussion Slides Off Track

What is the assertiveness model?

Tips for Using the Model

The Parking Lot

Chapter 12 Review Questions

Review Question Answers and Rationales

Appendix A: Activities



Final Examination

Answer Sheet

Course Evaluation

Choose Your Preferred Format

Online Access

Get immediate access to a robust collection of learning and reference materials, allowing you to dive deep into the information you need. Our self-study materials are authored by top-quality, industry experts who focus on helping you grasp concepts quickly using real-life examples. Download your CPE to any device, and take it with you so you can learn when and wherever you want. Complete your CPE with an online exam, and enjoy instant grading with the option to print your certificate immediately upon passing.

online access
Hard Copy

Our self-study materials are authored by top-quality, industry experts. You’ll receive a bound notebook of all the course materials, shipped to you within one business day. In addition, you’ll also have full online access. Each self-study package includes a robust collection of learning and reference materials to help you cover the information efficiently and put it into practice immediately.

hard copy
Self-Study Video

Experience high-quality instruction with our Self-Study Videos, available to you 24/7. With more than 80+ videos currently in the Western CPE Self-Study Video library, you can see and hear our expert instructors deliver the information you need in a dynamic way that allows you to immediately apply your learning. Unlike a live course or webcast, you can complete the course on your own time, playing and pausing as needed. Self-Study Videos allow you to complete your CPE requirements on your own time.

hard copy

Back to top