An audit of the financial records of the AVO should be performed once a year. Few internal controls represent a more powerful deterrent to financial abuse and an effective tool to detect a problem before it gets any larger than it already has grown to that point.
Audits can be external or internal. External audits represent a much stronger internal control as they are performed by trained professionals independent of the AVO, usually CPAs. These audits, though, are expensive. Internal audits by volunteers involved in the AVO represent a more cost effective alternative (virtually zero cost), however, the tradeoff is a loss of confidence that the work is performed by independent individuals with audit experience. Still, at the very least, the AVO should have an internal audit performed at least once a year.
Both types of audits are discussed in the next two segments of this section.