Strategic Priority 3: High quality audits completed by Pacific SAIs on a timely basis
Public accounts audited in a timely manner to internationally agreed standards by SAIs are fundamental to holding governments and public entities accountable through oversight by the legislature. PASAI will work in partnership with regional organisations and key stakeholders to promote the effective preparation and scrutiny of audited financial statements of Pacific Island Governments. To achieve this, PASAI Secretariat provides technical support to SAIs by delivering workshops and regional programmes, developing audit resources and engaging experts at both the SAI, sub-regional and regional levels to achieve timeliness and high quality audits. These programmes are summarised below:
Sub-regional Audit Support (SAS)
The SAS Programme is one of PASAI’s successful capacity building programmes developed for PASAI’s smaller SAIs of Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands, to enable the public accounts of these countries to be up-to-date and audited to uniformly high standards, while building the capacity of financial auditors. The SAS team members are seconded from each SAI and led by experts who will provide on-the-job auditing and training experience, while completing a financial audit in each country. The program began in 2009 and was completed in 2016, because the objectives were achieved and these SAIs felt they could join the programmes under the PASAI strategic plan. Regional reports on the success of this programme are found here and the lessons learned are helping the Secretariat develop new initiatives to provide technical support.
You can read the reports here:
THE SAS STORY- A REFLECTION ON THE SUB-REGIONAL AUDIT SUPPORT PROGRAMME (SAS) 2009 – 2016
SAS PROGRAMME ROUND 5
SAS PROGRAMME ROUND 4
SAS PROGRAMME ROUND 3
SAS PROGRAMME ROUND 1
Collaborative partnerships to strengthen PFM
Working closely with PFTAC (support of Westminster audit systems) and building networks with the US Department of Interior (support of Congressional audit systems), PASAI develops joint workshops and strategies to ensure public accounts or single audits are completed in a timely manner, so that SAIs can also achieve its mandate within the legislative requirements. These partnerships are beneficial to strengthen in-country public financial management capacity and enhance accountability mechanisms.
Ongoing analysis of the timely completion of audits and assessing quality through peer reviews. The results of quality assurance reviews will identify areas where the Secretariat will design initiatives to provide technical support to address issues which result in untimely audits.
Co-ordinating co-operative audits which involve multiple SAIs working together on a single audit with guidance from international experts serves not only to raise the capacity of SAIs, but also results in high quality audits and improves the quality of audit reports. While co-operative audit team members will work mainly in their own jurisdiction, the team will come together at the planning and reporting stages to obtain maximum guidance from the experts.
Of the six co-operative performance audits conducted to date, four have focused on environmental topics and the fifth co-operative audit focused on a financial topic – public debt management. The sixth cooperative audit was trying to adapt the methodology to a financial audit of government projects funded by foreign aid. A guidance for auditors as a result of this cooperative audit will be issued by August 2016. In the spirit of sharing knowledge and experiences, the Secretariat develops regional reports which highlight cross-cutting issues and common audit issues identified during the program which will be valuable for the Pacific Island Forum, regional governments, development partners and other stakeholders in understanding regional issues and challenges. The aim of this programme is to build the capacity of auditors to conduct high quality performance, financial and compliance audits.
To achieve high quality audits SAIs should establish Quality Assurance mechanisms to provide this assurance of quality. However, in the smaller SAIs of the Pacific region this is a challenge. PASAI will develop a regional mechanism and provide tools to support our members, including developing a peer review process within the region.
Contracting out Audits
PASAI will develop a generic model for contracting out and assuring the quality of audits completed by private sector auditors on behalf of the SAI. Guidelines will also be prepared on contract management and engagement of specialists. The PASAI Secretariat will provide direct advice to SAIs on negotiating and managing contracted-out audits.
Few SAIs are large enough to establish and sustain in-house technical capacity necessary to respond to the increasingly complex financial reporting and auditing environment. PASAI will provide support to SAIs on technical accounting and audit issues, related issues through regional programmes, maintaining the Financial Audit Manual, supporting SAIs using electronic auditing tools, developing an online forum or mechanism to provide technical support and developing audit resources to support SAIs. Additional ongoing support through training and workshops on accounting and audit standards will be provided under SP4.