The initial Internal Audit Shared Initiative came to fruition in 2005 with member schools Babson, Brandeis, Berklee, Olin, Wellesley and Wheaton selecting an outside firm as their collaborative internal audit service provider. With seed money from the Mellon Foundation providing stimulus for the inaugural year, each institution committed to two dedicated audits over an 18-month term with the outside firm’s engagement team.
Maureen Murphy, AVP of Financial Management & University Controller at Brandeis was Chairperson of this group. The outside firm’s team worked with each school in the development of a mutually acceptable audit plan to complement other recognized campus work. The results of this project were integrated or shared with the audit committee at each member school.
At the same time, the schools worked together wherever possible to share information and provide the outside firm data for the development of a Common Higher Education Risk Model in which business cycles like Governance, Payroll, Treasury and IT could be measured and compared in a risk analysis matrix by risk type, risk weight, and controls found to be in place.
The design of the Internal Audit Shared Initiative was one of continuous improvement and that touched virtually every aspect of a college’s operations in an effort to improve efficiencies and reduce financial risk.
In the Spring of 2008, Babson College, Brandeis University, Berklee College of Music, and Wheaton College collaborated on a Shared Internal Audit program. Each school participating in the shared internal audit group contributes to the funding of this program. At this time, Samantha Spezeski was hired by these four institutions as the shared Director of Internal Audit to manage the day-to-day internal audit function, evaluate operations and internal controls, and ensure policies and procedures are followed by all employees and adherence to applicable laws, regulations, and practices affecting the institutions.
Since the inception, Suffolk University, Emerson College, Bentley University, and the Rhode Island School of Design have joined the Internal Audit group as well. Additionally, by request, the TBC Internal Audit group performs internal audit engagements at other higher education institutions in New England.
SAMANTHA C SPEZESKI, CIA, MBA, (Director Internal Audit) Mrs. Spezeski was hired in April, 2008 to implement the shared function of Internal Audit for the Boston Consortium for Higher Education. She most recently was the Director of Internal Audit for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and prior to that worked for the University System of New Hampshire Internal Audit department as Interim Director/Manager. She is on the board for the New Hampshire chapter of Institute of Internal Auditors, and is currently chair of the Academic Relations committee. She is also an adjunct professor at Clark University.
MICHAEL SANTOLUCITO, CIA, MBA, (Senior Internal Auditor III) Mr. Santolucito joined the shared audit function in June 2010. He previously worked for KPMG and his last position was Senior Audit Associate.
GREGORY MONTY, CIA, CISA (Senior Internal Auditor III) Mr. Monty joined the shared audit function in June 2015. He previously held positions at Standex International Corporation, Anthem BC/BS, Riverstone Resources and Courier Corporation performing operational and IT audits.
LAURA KOWAL, CIA, CFSA, CRMA (Senior Internal Auditor III) Ms. Kowal joined the shared audit function in July of 2019. She brings over 25 years of internal audit experience with MetLife to our team. Ms. Kowal has also spent several years volunteering on the board of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditing.
BETH SHEA (Staff Internal Auditor I). Ms. Shea joined the shared audit function in November of 2022. She has over 20 years experience as an equity- fixed income institutional trader, and over 7 years in accounts payable.
Mission and Scope of Work
The mission of Internal Audit is to provide independent assessment, objective assurance, and consulting designed to add value and improve operations of the member institutions. Internal Audit helps each member institution accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes. Internal Audit aims to determine whether the member institutions risk management, control, and governance processes, as designed and represented by management, are adequate and functioning in a manner to ensure that:
The Director of Internal Audit shall be accountable to member institutions management and the audit committees to:
The scope of audit coverage is enterprise-wide and no function, activity, or unit of the member institutions is exempt from audit and review. To provide for the independence of the internal auditing department, its staff report to the Director of Internal Audit. Administratively, the Director of Internal Audit reports to the Managing Director of the Boston Consortium and the member institutions Chief Financial Officers or equivalent. Functionally the Director of Internal Audit reports to the member Boards of Trustees and the audit committees in a manner outlined in the above section on accountability.
The Director and members of the audit staff are authorized to have full, free and unrestricted access to all member institutions functions, records, properties, manual and automated systems, and personnel.
Internal Audit may be asked to participate in management committees or project teams, analyze controls built into processes, development systems, or analyze security products. Because Internal Audit is not a management decision-making function, decisions to develop, adopt and implement policies and/or procedures as a result of an internal audit advisory service must be made by management. Internal audit objectivity will not be impaired as a result of decisions made by management.
Standards of Audit Practice
The Shared Internal Audit department seeks to fully comply with the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing of The Institute of Internal Auditors. When the Service becomes fully established, we will seek a peer review to ensure compliance with the standards.
Follow the link below to access the Observation Tool Google Sheet.Observation Tool >
If you have any questions regarding Shared Internal Audit Services please contact the Director of Shared Internal Audit Services Samantha Spezeski.