CPA certifications of government audits are in demand these days, but as usual CPAs need to be careful of what they’re signing off on.

“Make sure you’re in the process of the engagement,” cautioned Laura Hyland, technical manager of governmental auditing and accounting at the AICPA, at a New York State Society of CPAs conference on governmental accounting and auditing on Tuesday. She noted a recent instance in which a government agency called up an auditor and asked about the status of findings from a previous auditor. “You can’t just sign it as the previous auditor,” she noted. “That’s really inappropriate.”

Hyland works with the Government Audit Quality Center at the AICPA, which has online practice aids and alerts to help CPAs cope with the vagaries of government audits. You can check out their resources at http://www.aicpa.org/InterestAreas/GovernmentalAuditQuality/Pages/GAQC.aspx.