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Shadow Program Improves Audit Quality

By DCAA Staff Writer

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DCAA’s Integrity and Quality Assurance Directorate created a Shadowing Program to develop the skills of FAO Assistants for Quality, who are assigned to Field Audit Offices and assist auditors in conducting high quality audits. Each program participant is paired with a Quality team for approximately 10 weeks. This program exposes participants to the quality review process, analysis performed during quality reviews, and the help, teach, advise, and assist function of Quality personnel. When participants return to their office, they are better able to assist auditors in conducting high quality audits that meet all requirements.

In a typical 10 week program, the participants are paired with a Quality Auditor and shadow him or her during a site visit and focused review cycle. Karla Harrison, AECOM Resident Office, recently finished the program and her experience is typical for most participants. She participated in a virtual onsite visit to review several different types of audits and had the opportunity to complete a quality review checklist and then compare her results with those of the Quality auditor she shadowed. She also helped build the quality review results presentation and was included in all the meetings between Quality representatives and the audit office staff. “I gained a better understanding of standards and ‘what right look like,’” Ms. Harrison said of the program. “While reviewing other DCAA offices’ work, the Quality Team would engage in thought-provoking conversations.  These conversations allowed me to devise a new approach to engaging the staff of my office during status meetings.”

Tamara Pecoraro-Harris, Supervisory Auditor from the North Texas Branch Office and recent program participant, had a similar experience but also assisted in the development of a guidance document related to the use of DCAA’s audit software. Ms. Pecoraro-Harris plans on sharing the insights and knowledge she learned during the program with her office, which will assist in improving the quality of audits. When asked what she will take away from the program she stated, “Producing a quality audit takes teamwork and the Quality group is there to help and teach throughout the audit.”

The Shadow program is just one of many ways that DCAA invests in its employees to make them successful. The program was recently expanded to include senior auditors, supervisory auditors, and other staff who lead audit teams. Teamwork is essential for high quality audits and the Shadow Program’s is just one aspect of DCAA’s focus on ensuring the highest quality for our customers.