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Effectively Auditing Government Contracts

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Date(s): Dec 07, 2017
Time: 8:30AM - 5:00PM
Registration Fee: $229.00
Cancellation Date: Nov 30, 2017
City: Austin

Course Description

In a 2015 review of State of Texas contracts, the Austin-American Statesman found, “Problem deals are often identified too late, after state officials have made mistakes and millions have been paid.” Further, they noted that “poor oversight has allowed modest contracts to balloon by tens of millions of dollars before being noticed by auditors.” (February 7, 2015, AAS). In performing contract audits, many auditors review the compliance provisions without considering whether contracts contain intended deliverables and provide value to the organization.

This one day session will address those “hard” and “soft” issues with respect to contracting. The hard issues are those of which you may have been aware such as bidding contracts over a certain dollar amount, confidentiality in bidding, impartiality in the selection process, and not accepting favors or promises from a potential contractor. However, have you ever considered the “soft” issues that relate to contracting? Perhaps you have considered them as “failures in compliance” or as “lack of knowledge” on behalf of the parties to the contract. This session will examine the three major players: procurement, recipient, and contractor. Using interactive discussion, exercises, and common examples, you will leave with practical items to consider and implement as an auditor.

Potential CPE Credits: 8.0
Govt Hours: This class meets 8.0 hours of the 24-hour requirement for governmental CPE under Government Auditing Standards (yellow book), in most cases.
Technical Hours: This class meets 8.0 CPE credits of technical training in compliance with Texas Admin. Code Rule 523.102.

Instruction Type: Classroom
Experience Level: ALL
Category: Auditing

Course Objectives

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

  • Recognize roles, responsibilities, as well as ethical practices in contracting for all three major parties
  • Identify dilemmas faced by each of the three key players in the execution of a contract
  • Identify the concerns that recipients might not understand that they face
  • How auditors add value in each phase of the a contract execution
  • Add value to the entity by questioning whether deliverables are appropriate
  • Question contractor costs and markups
  • Items to contemplate while serving in dual roles as an auditor

Course Outline


  • Definition of a Contract
  • Elements of a Contract
  • Types of Contracts and Risks and Benefits
  • Relevant Contract Clauses
  • Key parties to a contract
    • roles
    • responsibilities
    • pitfalls

Auditing Contracts

  • Auditor’s responsibilities with respect to the contract
  • Financial
    • Charges
    • Billing
    • Markup
  • Performance
    • Deliverables
    • Performance Standards
  • Subcontractors responsibilities fulfilled
  • Compliance
  • Assessing the Contractor’s Internal Controls

Performance Reviews

  • Risks of Fraud
  • Use of Specialists
  • Reviewing a Contract’s performance requirements
    • Value add deliverables
  • Reporting of Findings
  • Recovery


No prerequisites required.


Bret Kobel

Mr. Kobel is Managing Partner for Empower Audit and has more than 20 years of professional finance, accounting, audit, risk and compliance experience. Bret specializes in internal controls, process improvement, process transformation & implementation with organizations operating under GAAP and/or IFRS Standards. He brings a diverse background to the organization from venture-backed startups to global Fortune 500 companies.

Most recently Bret spent two years on assignment in Singapore as the Regional CFO and Controller for an international logistics company responsible for seven countries in the Asia Pacific region. Mr. Kobel was tasked with transforming the financial organization and redesigning the financial processes to ensure timely and accurate financial reporting.

Prior to that, Mr. Kobel spent several years with a large international drilling services company operating in over 40 countries on six continents. He was responsible for developing the company’s initial policies and procedures and implementing the baseline internal controls framework for the company as well as the initial Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) program. Mr. Kobel later led global Internal Audit teams performing the first ever internal audits in the company’s 120 year history.

Earlier in Mr. Kobel’s career, he was part of a team that interpreted the newly released 1992 COSO published Internal Control – Integrated Framework into a set of policies and procedures for one of the largest university systems in the Nation and later led teams conducting the initial internal audits for the newly-implemented procedures.

Mr. Kobel received his BS degree from Indiana University and his MBA from The University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Additional Information

TAC Rule 523.142(g) requires the CPE Sponsor to monitor individual attendance and assign the correct number of CPE credits. Participants will be asked to document their time of arrival and departure in compliance with this Rule. Additionally, attendance will be monitored throughout the day and CPE certificates will reflect actual attendance of each participant.

If you are making travel plans to come to Austin, we recommend making "refundable" air and hotel reservations or waiting until 14 days before the class to actually book your reservations. Courses are occasionally canceled or rescheduled due to low enrollment. We determine whether a course has enough participants 16 days prior to the course date. If we cancel or reschedule, we will email the participant and his or her billing contact no later than 14 days before the original class date.

The course coordinator will contact you with parking information. Handicapped parking is free at the meters around the downtown area.

Vending machines with Coca-Cola products and various snack items are available. There is also a refrigerator and microwave in our coffee bar area. Feel free to bring in your own drinks and food if you prefer.

You might want to bring a light sweater or jacket, as room temperatures vary.

To see answers to our Frequently Asked Questions, visit

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