State Audit Institution of the Republic of Serbia (SAIS), in cooperation with State Audit Office of the Republic of Latvia, officially marked beginning of mutual cooperation within the Twinning Light Project titled "Audit Quality Control in the State Audit Institution", which SAI of the Republic of Latvia implements to the benefit of the State Audit Institution of the Republic of Serbia.
Goal of the Twinning Light Project, financed by the European Union with close to 250.000 Euros, is to improve efficient and effective management and usage of public funds in the Republic of Serbia, through strengthening of audit capacities of the State Audit Institution.
SAI's need to have quality control system and procedures for its activities has been universally accepted by the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and represents the core of all audit standards. SAI has to be in a position to constantly implemented high-quality audit and other type of work.
For those reasons, in the next eight months, experts from SAI Latvia will be providing expert support to SAI Serbia employees. Through six planned activities, expert teams will be assessing audit quality control system used in SAIS, analyzing its weak and strong points, as well as compliance with relevant international quality control standards.
"Result of the Project will be demonstrated through introduction of an appropriate audit quality control system, which will be in line with the European and international audit standards", Mr. Radoslav Sretenovic said while opening the project.He added that the plan of SAIS was to standardize its audit practice, strengthen its capacities, knowledge and skills, and deliver audit products of even greater quality.
Auditor-General of the Republic of Latvia, Ms. Elita Krumina, explained that Serbia is currently in the similar position as Latvia 15 years ago, when it was actively preparing for European Union accession process. "That includes serious focus on public finance control. Efforts that we are currently investing into SAI Serbia development are somewhat similar to the saying "give and something will be given back to you", for we ourselves have been in the position to learn best practices and gain knowledge, and now we have become knowledgeable enough and internationally recognized, so that we can share the knowledge and practices further on", Ms. Krumina added.
Project Leader, Ms. Marita Salgrave, highlighted that SAI Latvia had faced similar problems earlier, which they had resolved thanks to carefully established strategic goals. "Providing expert support to the Serbian colleagues for us is an opportunity for our own growth", she said.
As a part of the project, Action plan will be drafted for introduction and implementation of audit quality standards. Action plan will also encompass preparation of procedures followed and guidelines for quality control, including all necessary checklists and forms for conducting financial statements audit, compliance audit and performance audit, which will be tested via pilot audits. Together with this, practical trainings and consultations will be organized, tailored to SAIS needs.
Mr. Steffen Hudolin, Head of Operations II of EU Delegation to the Republic of Serbia, said that work of the State Audit Institution was very positive and that SAIS played an important role in both, public administration system and in Serbia's EU accession process. "We are very pleased and impressed with significant progress made by SAIS in a relatively short time period of its existence. It is a dynamic institution, growing very fast, and which gained credibility and integrity in the society through its work and professionalism".
Mr. Dusan Carkic, Acting Assistant Minister of Finance and Head of the Department for Contracting and Financing EU Funded Programs, congratulated SAIS on the start of the significant project and pointed to good cooperation realized during contracting this project, financed within IPA 2013 program.
The ceremony of marking the beginning of mutual cooperation between SAIs of Serbia and Latvia was attended by the Chairperson of the Committee for Finance, Republic Budget and Control of Public Funds' Spending, Dr Aleksandra Tomic, along with members of the Council of SAIS, Supreme State Auditors, employees in the Ministry of Finance and employees in SAIS.