1. Purpose. Circular A-133 establishes audit requirements and defines Federal responsibilities for implementing and monitoring such requirements for institutions of higher education and other nonprofit institutions receiving Federal awards.
2. Authority. Circular A-133 is issued under the authority of the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, as amended; the Budget and Accounting Procedures Act of 1950, as amended: Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1970; and Executive Order No. 11541.
3. Supersession. Circular A-133 supersedes Attachment F, subparagraph 2h, of Circular A-110, ``Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations.''
4. Applicability. The provisions of Circular A-133 apply to:
a. Federal departments and agencies responsible for administering programs that involve grants, cost-type contracts and other agreements with institutions of higher education and other nonprofit recipients.
b. Nonprofit institutions, whether they are recipients, receiving awards directly from Federal agencies, or are sub-recipients, receiving awards indirectly through other recipients.
These principles, to the extent permitted by law, constitute guidance to be applied by agencies consistent with and within the discretion, conferred by the statutes governing agency action.
5. Requirements and Responsibilities. The specific requirements and responsibilities of Federal departments and agencies and institutions of higher education and other nonprofit institutions are set forth in the attachment.
6. Effective Date. The provisions of Circular A-133 are effective upon publication and shall apply to audits of nonprofit institutions for fiscal years that begin on or after January 1, 1990. Earlier implementation is encouraged. However, until this Circular is implemented, the audit provisions of Attachment F to Circular A-110 shall continue to be observed.
7. Policy Review (Sunset) Date. Circular A-133 will have a policy review three years from the date of issuance.
8. Inquiries. Further information concerning Circular A-133 may be obtained by contacting the Financial Management Division, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503, telephone (202) 395-3993.
Richard G. Darman,
Attachment_OMB Circular A-133
Audits of Institutions of Higher Education and Other Nonprofit Institutions
1. Definitions. For the purposes of this Circular, the following definitions apply:
a. Award means financial assistance, and Federal cost-type contracts used to buy services or goods for the use of the Federal Government. It includes awards received directly from the Federal agencies or indirectly through recipients. It does not include procurement contracts to vendors under grants or contracts, used to buy goods or services. Audits of such vendors shall be covered by the terms and conditions of the contract.
b. Cognizant agency means the Federal agency assigned by the Office of Management and Budget to carry out the responsibilities described in paragraph 3 of this Attachment.
c. Coordinated audit approach means an audit wherein the independent auditor, and other Federal and non-federal auditors consider each other's work, in determining the nature, timing, and extent of his or her own auditing procedures. A coordinated audit must be conducted in accordance with Government Auditing Standards and meet the objectives and reporting requirements set forth in paragraph 12(b) and 15, respectively, of this Attachment. The objective of the coordinated audit approach is to minimize duplication of audit effort, but not to limit the scope of the audit work so as to preclude the independent auditor from meeting the objectives set forth in paragraph 12(b) or issuing the reports required in paragraph 15 in a timely manner.
d. Federal agency has the same meaning as the term agency in section 551(1) of Title 5, United States Code.
e. Federal Financial Assistance.
(1) ``Federal financial assistance'' means assistance provided by the Federal agency to a recipient or sub-recipient to carry out a program. Such assistance may be in the form of:
-other non-cash assistance.
(2) Such assistance does not include direct Federal cash assistance to individuals.
(3) Such assistance includes awards received directly from Federal agencies, or indirectly when sub-recipients receive funds identified as Federal funds by recipients.
(4) The granting agency is responsible for identifying the source of funds awarded to recipients; the recipient is responsible for identifying the source of funds awarded to sub-recipients.
f. Generally accepted accounting principles has the meaning specified in the Government Auditing Standards.
g. Independent auditor means:
(1) A Federal, State, or local government auditor who meets the standards specified in the Government Auditing Standards; or
(2) A public accountant who meets such standards.
h. Internal control structure means the policies and procedures established to provide reasonable assurance that:
(1) Resource use is consistent with laws, regulations, and award terms;
(2) Resources are safeguarded against waste, loss, and misuse; and
(3) Reliable data are obtained, maintained, and fairly disclosed in reports.
i. Major program means an individual award or a number of awards in a category of Federal assistance or support for which total expenditures are the larger of three percent of total Federal funds expended or $100,000, on which the auditor will be required to express an opinion as to whether the major program is being administered in compliance with laws and regulations.
Each of the following categories of Federal awards shall constitute a major program where total expenditures are the larger of three percent of total Federal funds expended or $100,000:
-Research and Development.
-Student Financial Aid.
-Individual awards not in the student aid or research and development category.
j. Management decision means the evaluation by the management of an establishment of the findings and recommendations included in an audit report and the issuance of a final decision by management concerning its response to such findings and recommendations, including actions concluded to be necessary.
k. Nonprofit institution means any corporation, trust, association, cooperative or other organization which 1) is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest; 2) is not organized primarily for profit; and 3) uses its net proceeds to maintain, improve, and/or expand its operations. The term ``nonprofit institutions'' includes institutions of higher education, except those institutions that are audited as part of single audits in accordance with Circular A-128 ``Audits of State and Local Governments.'' The term does not include hospitals which are not affiliated with an institution of higher education, or State and local governments and Indian tribes covered by Circular A-128 ``Audits of State and Local Governments.''
l. Oversight agency means the Federal agency that provides the predominant amount of direct funding to a recipient not assigned a cognizant agency, unless no direct funding is received. Where there is no direct funding, the Federal agency with the predominant indirect funding will assume the general oversight responsibilities. The duties of the oversight agency are described in paragraph 4 of this Attachment.
m. Recipient means an organization receiving financial assistance to carry out a program directly from Federal agencies.
n. Research and development includes all research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are supported at universities, colleges, and other nonprofit institutions. ``Research'' is defined as a systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. ``Development'' is the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.
o. Student Financial Aid includes those programs of general student assistance in which institutions participate, such as those authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 which is administered by the U.S. Department of Education and similar programs provided by other Federal agencies. It does not include programs which provide fellowships or similar awards to students on a competitive basis, or for specified studies or research.
p. Sub-recipient means any person or government department, agency, establishment, or nonprofit organization that receives financial assistance to carry out a program through a primary recipient or other sub-recipient, but does not include an individual that is a beneficiary of such a program. A sub-recipient may also be a direct recipient of Federal awards under other agreements.
q. Vendor means an organization providing a recipient or sub-recipient with generally required goods or services that are related to the administrative support of the Federal assistance program.
2. Audit of Nonprofit Institutions
a. Requirements Based on Award Received
(1) Nonprofit institutions that receive $100,000 or more a year in Federal awards shall have an audit made in accordance with the provisions of the Circular. However, nonprofit institutions receiving $100,000 or more but receiving awards under only one program have the option of having an audit of their institution prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Circular or having an audit made of the one program. For prior or subsequent years, when an institution has only loan guarantees or outstanding loans that were made previously, the institution may be required to conduct audits for those programs, in accordance with regulations of the Federal agencies providing those guarantees or loans.
(2) Nonprofit institutions that receive at least $25,000 but less than $100,000 a year in Federal awards shall have an audit made in accordance with this Circular or have an audit made of each Federal award, in accordance with Federal laws and regulations governing the programs in which they participate.
(3) Nonprofit institutions receiving less than $25,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements, but records must be available for review by appropriate officials of the Federal grantor agency or subgranting entity.
b. Oversight by Federal Agencies
(1) To each of the larger nonprofit institutions the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will assign a Federal agency as the cognizant agency for monitoring audits and ensuring the resolution of audit findings that affect the programs of more than one agency.
(2) Smaller institutions not assigned a cognizant agency will be under the general oversight of the Federal agency that provides them with the most funds.
(3) Assignments to Federal cognizant agencies for carrying out responsibilities in this section are set forth in a separate supplement to this Circular.
(4) Federal Government-owned, contractor-operated facilities at institutions or laboratories operated primarily for the Government are not included in the cognizance assignments. These will remain the responsibility of the contracting agencies. The listed assignments cover all of the functions in this Circular unless otherwise indicated. The Office of Management and Budget will coordinate changes in agency assignments.
3. Cognizant Agency Responsibilities. A cognizant agency shall:
a. Ensure that audits are made and reports are received in a timely manner and in accordance with the requirements of this Circular.
b. Provide technical advice and liaison to institutions and independent auditors.
c. Obtain or make quality control reviews of selected audits made by non-Federal audit organizations, and provide the results, when appropriate, to other interested organizations.
d. Promptly inform other affected Federal agencies and appropriate Federal law enforcement officials of any reported illegal acts or irregularities. A cognizant agency should also inform State or local law enforcement and prosecuting authorities, if not advised by the recipient, of any violation of law within their jurisdiction.
e. Advise the recipient of audits that have been found not to have met the requirements set forth in this Circular. In such instances, the recipient will work with the auditor to take corrective action. If corrective action is not taken, the cognizant agency shall notify the recipient and Federal awarding agencies of the facts and make recommendations for follow-up action. Major inadequacies or repetitive substandard performance of independent auditors shall be referred to appropriate professional bodies for disciplinary action.
f. Coordinate, to the extent practicable, audits or reviews made for Federal agencies that are in addition to the audits made pursuant to this Circular, so that the additional audits or reviews build upon audits performed in accordance with the Circular.
g. Ensure the resolution of audit findings that affect the programs of more than one agency.
h. Seek the views of other interested agencies before completing a coordinated program.
i. Help coordinate the audit work and reporting responsibilities among independent public accountants, State auditors, and both resident and non-resident Federal auditors to achieve the most cost-effective audit.
4. Oversight Agency Responsibilities. An oversight agency shall provide technical advice and counsel to institutions and independent auditors when requested by the recipient. The oversight agency may assume all or some of the responsibilities normally performed by a cognizant agency.
5. Recipient Responsibilities. A recipient that receives a Federal award and provides $25,000 or more of it during its fiscal year to a sub-recipient shall:
a. Ensure that the nonprofit institution sub-recipients that receive $25,000 or more have met the audit requirements of this Circular, and that sub-recipients subject to OMB Circular A-128 have met the audit requirements of that Circular;
b. Ensure that appropriate corrective action is taken within six months after receipt of the sub-recipient audit report in instances of noncompliance with Federal laws and regulations;
c. Consider whether sub-recipient audits necessitate adjustment of the recipient's own records; and
d. Require each sub-recipient to permit independent auditors to have access to the records and financial statements as necessary for the recipient to comply with this Circular.
6. Relation to Other Audit Requirements
a. An audit in accordance with this Circular shall be in lieu of any financial audit required under individual Federal awards. To the extent that an audit made in accordance with this Circular provides Federal agencies with the information and assurances they need to carry out their overall responsibilities, they shall rely upon and use such information. However, a Federal agency shall make any additional audits or reviews necessary to carry out responsibilities under Federal law and regulation. Any additional Federal audits or reviews shall be planned and carried out in such a way as to build upon work performed by the independent auditor.
b. Audit planning by Federal audit agencies should consider the extent to which reliance can be placed upon work performed by other auditors. Such auditors include State, local, Federal, and other independent auditors, and a recipient's internal auditors. Reliance placed upon the work of other auditors should be documented and in accordance with Government Auditing Standards.
c. The provisions of this Circular do not limit the authority of Federal agencies to make or contract for audits and evaluations of Federal awards, nor do they limit the authority of any Federal agency Inspector General or other Federal official.
d. The provisions of this Circular do not authorize any institution or sub-recipient thereof to constrain Federal agencies, in any manner, from carrying out additional audits, evaluations or reviews.
e. A Federal agency that makes or contracts for audits, in addition to the audits made by recipients pursuant to this Circular, shall, consistent with other applicable laws and regulations, arrange for funding the cost of such additional audits. Such additional audits or reviews include financial, performance audits and program evaluations.
7. Frequency of Audit. Audits shall usually be performed annually but not less frequently than every two years.
8. Sanctions. No audit costs may be charged to Federal awards when audits required by this Circular have not been made or have been made but not in accordance with this Circular. In cases of continued inability or unwillingness to have a proper audit in accordance with the Circular, Federal agencies must consider appropriate sanctions including:
-withholding a percentage of awards until the audit is completed satisfactorily;
-withholding or disallowing overhead costs; or
-suspending Federal awards until the audit is made.
9. Audit Costs. The cost of audits made in accordance with the provisions of this Circular are allowable charges to Federal awards. The charges may be considered a direct cost or an allocated indirect cost, determined in accordance with the provisions of Circular A-21, ``Cost Principles for Universities'' or Circular A-122, ``Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations,'' FAR subpart 31, or other applicable cost principles or regulations.
10. Auditor Selection. In arranging for audit services institutions shall follow the procurement standards prescribed by Circular A-110, ``Uniform Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and other Nonprofit Organizations.''
11. Small and Minority Audit Firms
a. Small audit firms and audit firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals shall have the maximum practicable opportunity to participate in contracts awarded to fulfill the requirements of this circular.
b. Recipients of Federal awards shall take the following steps to further this goal:
(1) Ensure that small audit firms and audit firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals are used to the fullest extent practicable;
(2) Make information on forthcoming opportunities available and arrange timeframes for the audit to encourage and facilitate participation by small audit firms and audit firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals;
(3) Consider in the contract process whether firms competing for larger audits intend to subcontract with small audit firms and audit firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals;
(4) Encourage contracting with small audit firms or audit firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals which have traditionally audited government programs, and in cases where this is not possible, assure that these firms are given consideration for audit subcontracting opportunities;
(5) Encourage contracting with consortiums of small audit firms as described in section (1), above, when a contract is too large for an individual small audit firm or audit firm owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; and
(6) Use the services and assistance, as appropriate, of such organizations as the Small Business Administration in the solicitation and utilization of small audit firms and audit firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
12. Scope of Audit and Audit Objectives
a. The audit shall be made by an independent auditor in accordance with Government Auditing Standards developed by the Comptroller General of the United States covering financial audits. An audit under this circular should be an organization-wide audit of the institution. However, there may be instances where Federal auditors are performing audits or are planning to perform audits at nonprofit institutions. In these cases, to minimize duplication of audit work, a coordinated audit approach may be agreed upon between the independent auditor, the recipient and the cognizant agency or the oversight agency. Those auditors who assume responsibility for any or all of the reports called for by paragraph 15 should follow guidance set forth in Government Auditing Standards in using work performed by others.
b. The auditor shall determine whether:
(1) The financial statements of the institution present fairly its financial position and the results of its operations in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles;
(2) The institution has an internal control structure to provide reasonable assurance that the institution is managing Federal awards in compliance with the laws and regulations that could have a material impact on the financial statements; and
(3) The institution has complied with laws and regulations that may have a direct and material effect on its financial statement amounts and on each major Federal program.
13. Internal Controls Over Federal Awards; Compliance Reviews
a. General. The independent auditor shall determine and report on whether the recipient has an internal control structure to provide reasonable assurance that it is managing Federal awards in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and controls that ensure compliance with the laws, regulations, and contract terms, and that it safeguards Federal funds. In performing these reviews, independent auditors should relay upon work performed by a recipient's internal auditors to the maximum extent possible. The extent of such reliance should be based upon the Government Auditing Standards.
b. Internal Control Review. (1) In order to provide this assurance on internal controls, the auditor must obtain an understanding of the internal control structure and assess levels of internal control risk. After obtaining an understanding of the controls, the assessment must be made whether or not the auditor intends to place reliance on the internal control structure.
(2) As a part of this review, the auditor shall:
(a) Perform tests of controls to evaluate the effectiveness of the design and operation of the policies and procedures in preventing or detecting material noncompliance. Tests of controls will not be required for those areas where the internal control structure policies and procedures are likely to be ineffective in preventing or detecting noncompliance, in which case a reportable condition or a material weakness should be reported in accordance with paragraph 15 c(2) of this Circular.
(b) Review the recipient's system for monitoring sub-recipients and obtaining and acting on sub-recipient audit reports.
(c) Determine whether controls are in effect to ensure direct and indirect costs were computed and billed in accordance with the guidance provided in the general requirements section of the compliance supplement to this Circular.
c. Compliance Review. (1) The auditor shall determine whether the recipient has complied with laws and regulations that may have a direct and material effect on any of its major Federal programs. In addition, transactions selected for non-major programs shall be tested for compliance with Federal laws and regulations that apply to such transactions.
(2) In order to determine which major programs are to be tested for compliance, recipients shall identify, in their accounts, all Federal funds received and expended and the programs under which they were received. This shall include funds received directly from Federal agencies, through other State and local governments or other recipients. To assist recipients in identifying Federal awards, Federal agencies and primary recipients shall provide the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numbers to the recipients when making the awards.
(3) The review must include the selection of an adequate number of transactions from each major Federal financial assistance program so that the auditor obtains sufficient evidence to support the opinion on compliance required by paragraph 15c(3) of this Attachment. The selection and testing of transactions shall be based on the auditors' professional judgment considering such factors as the amount of expenditures for the program; the newness of the program or changes in its conditions; prior experience with the program particularly as revealed in audits and other evaluations (e.g., inspections, program reviews, or system reviews required by Federal Acquisition Regulations); the extent to which the program is carried out through sub-recipients; the extent to which the program contracts for goods or services; the level to which the program is already subject to program reviews or other forms of independent oversight; the adequacy of the controls for ensuring compliance; the expectation of adherence or lack of adherence to the applicable laws and regulations; and the potential impact of adverse findings.
(4) In making the test of transactions, the auditor shall determine whether:
-the amounts reported as expenditures were for allowable services, and
-the records show that those who received services or benefits were eligible to receive them.
(5) In addition to transaction testing, the auditor shall determine whether:
-matching requirements, levels of effort and earmarking limitations were met,
-Federal financial reports and claims for advances and reimbursement contain information that is supported by books and records from which the basic financial statements have been prepared, and
-amounts claimed or used for matching were determined in accordance with (1) OMB Circular A-21, ``Cost Principles for Educational Institutions''; (2) matching or cost sharing requirements in Circular A-110, ``Uniform Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Nonprofit Organizations''; (3) Circular A-122, ``Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations''; (4) FAR subpart 31 cost principles; and (5) other applicable cost principles or regulations.
(6) The principal compliance requirements of the largest Federal programs may be ascertained by referring to the ``Compliance Supplement for Single Audits of Educational Institutions and Other Nonprofit Organizations,'' and the ``Compliance Supplement for Single Audits of State and Local Governments,'' issued by OMB and available from the Government Printing Office. For those programs not covered in the Compliance Supplements, the auditor should ascertain compliance requirements by reviewing the statutes, regulations, and agreements governing individual programs.
(7) Transactions related to other awards that are selected in connection with examinations of financial statements and evaluations of internal controls shall be tested for compliance with Federal laws and regulations that apply to such transactions.
14. Illegal Acts. If, during or in connection with the audit of a nonprofit institution, the auditor becomes aware of illegal acts, such acts shall be reported in accordance with the provisions of the Government Auditing Standards.
15. Audit Reports.
a. Audit reports must be prepared at the completion of the audit.
b. The audit report shall state that the audit was made in accordance with the provisions of this Circular.
c. The report shall be made up of at least the following three parts:
(1) The financial statements and a schedule of Federal awards and the auditor's report on the statements and the schedule. The schedule of Federal awards should identify major programs and show the total expenditures for each program. Individual major programs other than Research and Development and Student Aid should be listed by catalog number as identified in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. Expenditures for Federal programs other than major programs shall be shown under the caption ``other Federal assistance.'' Also, the value of non-cash assistance such as loan guarantees, food commodities or donated surplus properties or the outstanding balance of loans should be disclosed in the schedule.
(2) A written report of the independent auditor's understanding of the internal control structure and the assessment of control risk. The auditor's report should include as a minimum: (1) the scope of the work in obtaining understanding of the internal control structure and in assessing the control risk, (2) the nonprofit institution's significant internal controls or control structure including the controls established to ensure compliance with laws and regulations that have a material impact on the financial statements and those that provide reasonable assurance that Federal awards are being managed in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and (3) the reportable conditions, including the identification of material weaknesses, identified as a result of the auditor's work in understanding and assessing the control risk. If the auditor limits his/her consideration of the internal control structure for any reason, the circumstances should be disclosed in the report.
(3) The auditor's report on compliance containing:
-An opinion as to whether each major Federal program was being administered in compliance with laws and regulations applicable to the matters described in paragraph 13(c)(3) of this Attachment, including compliance with laws and regulations pertaining to financial reports and claims for advances and reimbursements;
-A statement of positive assurance on those items that were tested for compliance and negative assurance on those items not tested;
-Material findings of noncompliance presented in their proper perspective:
The size of the universe in number of items and dollars,
The number and dollar amount of transactions tested by the auditors,
The number and corresponding dollar amount of instances of noncompliance;
-Where findings are specific to a particular Federal award, an identification of total amounts questioned, if any, for each Federal award, as a result of noncompliance and the auditor's recommendations for necessary corrective action.
d. The three parts of the audit report may be bound into a single document, or presented at the same time as separate documents.
e. Nonmaterial findings need not be disclosed with the compliance report but should be reported in writing to the recipient in a separate communication. The recipient, in turn, should forward the findings to the Federal grantor agencies or subgrantor sources.
f. All fraud or illegal acts or indications of such acts, including all questioned costs found as the result of these acts that auditors become aware of, may be covered in a separate written report submitted in accordance with the Government Auditing Standards.
g. The auditor's report should disclose the status of known but uncorrected significant material findings and recommendations from prior audits that affect the current audit objective as specified in the Government Auditing Standards.
h. In addition to the audit report, the recipient shall provide a report of its comments on the findings and recommendations in the report, including a plan for corrective action taken or planned and comments on the status of corrective action taken on prior findings. If corrective action is not necessary, a statement describing the reason it is not should accompany the audit report.
i. Copies of the audit report shall be submitted in accordance with the reporting standards for financial audits contained in the Government Auditing Standards. Sub-recipient auditors shall submit copies to recipients that provided Federal awards. The report shall be due within 30 days after the completion of the audit, but the audit should be completed and the report submitted not later than 13 months after the end of the recipient's fiscal year unless a longer period is agreed to with the cognizant or oversight agency.
j. Recipients of more than $100,000 in Federal awards shall submit one copy of the audit report within 30 days after issuance to a central clearinghouse to be designated by the Office of Management and Budget. The clearinghouse will keep completed audit reports on file.
k. Recipients shall keep audit reports, including sub-recipient reports, on file for three years from their issuance.
16. Audit Resolution
a. As provided in paragraph 3, the cognizant agency shall be responsible for ensuring the resolution of audit findings that affect the programs of more than one Federal agency. Resolution of findings that relate to the programs of a single Federal agency will be the responsibility of the recipient and the agency. Alternate arrangements may be made on case-by-case basis by agreement among the agencies concerned.
b. A management decision shall be made within six months after receipt of the report by the Federal agencies responsible for audit resolution. Corrective action should proceed as rapidly as possible.
17. Audit Workpapers and Reports. Workpapers and reports shall be retained for a minimum of three years from the date of the audit report, unless the auditor is notified in writing by the cognizant agency to extend the retention period. Audit workpapers shall be made available upon request to the cognizant agency or its designee or the General Accounting Office, at the completion of the audit.
[56 FR 50784, Oct. 8, 1991]