Digitalization of Audit Process as early as 2020

23 November 2018.
Digitalization of Audit Process as early as 2020

State Audit Institution (SAI) will have better technical capabilities for systemic monitoring of implementation of recommendations, which will be realized within the development of customized software for Audit Management System (AMS), procurement of which is planned in 2019, while the initial application in 2020, said SAI President and Auditor-General, Dr. Duško Pejović.

During the final presentation of results of the audit mapping process and the defined requirements for Audit Management System, he emphasized that SAI will be among the first state authorities to digitalize its processes, through that System.

The System will, among other things, facilitate audit planning, ensure database of all auditees, ensure monitoring of audit flow, status of recommendations and charges, and it will also ensure electronic document management in auditing, Dr. Pejović highlighted.

Speaking on open data, and/or data available free of charge and in machine-readable formats, Dr. Pejović said that SAI was member of the Working Group for Open Data.

As of this year, we will start publishing responses to the audit report. We have published a form of the response to the audit report at the SAI's website, in order to facilitate its preparation to the auditees and in order to standardize its design, Dr. Pejović said.

Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Serbia, Ms. Steliana Nedera, highlighted that UNDP was very satisfied and proud of the results achieved in the previous and current projects implemented in partnership with SAI.

By introducing Audit Management System, in compliance with the Government's Digital Transformation Decree, SAI will increase efficiency and effectiveness of public administration, which is of strategic importance for the Republic of Serbia, Ms. Nedera emphasized.

Head of the Office for Information Technology and E-Government, Dr. Mihailo Jovanović, said that digitalization was one of the priorities of the Serbian Government, whereby main pillar of the digitalization was public administration reform.

We want to build an effective and economical public administration, Dr. Jovanović said.

According to him, two significant laws have been adopted in the area of digitalization - Law on Electronic Operations and Law on Electronic Government.

Law defined the obligation of all authorities to post data into machine-readable format, while the other significant matter is establishing server-based communication lines of the authorities, Dr. Jovanović concluded.

Rector of the University of Novi Sad, Dr. Dejan Jakšić, presented his experiences in developing IT solutions for the audit process.

Professor of the Economic Faculty in Belgrade, Dr. Milojko Arsić, emphasized that the public funds must be spent efficiently.

After improving macroeconomic stability, now the state has to decide about the projects it will implement. The key role of SAI is to verify if the public funds have been spent for the intended purposes, whether there have been overspending of funds or not, Dr. Arsić said.

Assistant to the Director of the National Academy for Public Administration, Ms. Snežana Antonijević, said that one of the Government's priority was digitalization of public administration.

Challenges of public administration digitalization are lack of digital competency framework for public administration employees, as well as resistance to changes by the civil servants, Ms. Antonijević concluded.

Secretary General of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM), Mr. Đorđe Staničić, emphasized that SCTM was ready to use audit findings from audits conducted in cities and municipalities, in order to improve local government's work, thus assisting citizens and economy.

Program Director of Transparency Serbia, Mr. Nemanja Nenadić, said that the main priority was to produce information, and/or data, that the information was available, and that the information may be used without obstacles.

Largest potential benefit would be evident in performance audit, whereby data on both, public procurements and Budget would be available in machine-readable formats, Mr. Nenadić concluded.

Representatives of SAI Macedonia, Project Experts, presented the results of implemented mapping process and defined requirements for Audit Management System. For the purposes of introducing Audit Management System, SAI organized seven workshops dedicated to mapping processes in financial statement audit, annual planning, monitoring of the recommendation implementation and quality assurance, then mapping processes in compliance audit, performance audit, in reporting on performance and filing charges and monitoring thereof. Some of the workshops were dedicated to determining systemic requirements for AMS software and priorities for audit of financial statements, compliance and performance audit, as well as assessment of audit forms and their compliance with the new requirements and methodology. Total of 120 SAI employees participated in the workshops, 106 tasks were defined for the future system, with 295 activities and 423 documents relevant for audit process.

Workshops were organized within the Project "Advancing Accountability Mechanisms in the Public Finances', implemented by the State Audit institution, Ministry of Finance, Public Procurement Office, Commission for Protection of Rights in Public Procurement Procedures, Judicial Academy, Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The Project is funded by the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden.