Cover Story


International Journal of Auditing – July 2008

Thoughts About the Present and the Future of INTOSAI

Picture of Arturo González de Aragón

I wish to thank this Journal for the opportunity to share some thoughts about the present and the future of our great organization and our common endeavors.

The evolution of the contemporary world presents unprecedented challenges to supreme audit institutions (SAI)—the dynamics that globalization introduces into international relations; phenomena that recognize no borders, such as climate change, oil prices, and the food crisis; the communications revolution and information technology; ongoing democratic processes; and the struggle for international markets. All of these issues demand that we change the paradigms of the past to face the immense challenges of the present and future.

There is an important lesson in all of this: if we want to influence events, instead of merely reacting to them, we must keep up with the pace of change. History waits for no one.

The future not only presents complex problems but also provides new tools to address them. In facing these situations, we must never be complacent; rather, we must find solutions that will last beyond our time and take into account the consequences of our acts. The future belongs to the new generations, to whom we bear a great responsibility. What we do today will profoundly affect the new world that we create.

In this chain of cause and effect, the auditing of public resources has a key role in establishing free, democratic, and prosperous nations. We must accomplish the mission that society has entrusted to us with enthusiasm and a sense of responsibility. To achieve this objective, we can count on the talent and will of both our own citizenry and peers from around the world, who seek to attain excellence through their efforts to improve the societies in which they live and serve.

INTOSAI is an organization of equals, in which each of our members has a vote, regardless of the degree of socioeconomic development of our country, the language we speak, or the mandate granted by the society in which we have the privilege of serving. This equality was evident for those who attended the 2007 INCOSAI in Mexico. Knowing that responsible and generous people from around the world were ready to share their experience and knowledge and learn from others was one of the greatest rewards of this event. Important actions have been taken to implement the guidelines set forth in the INTOSAI strategic plan for 2005–2010 and to make this worldwide effort successful. Regional groups, working groups, committees, subcommittees, and task forces have continued to work in their corresponding areas. It is indeed encouraging to take an active part in these efforts to bring the world’s top specialists together for the issues we seek to address.

INTOSAI can achieve its goal of becoming a model international organization as long as SAIs intensify their international exchanges, become acquainted with best practices, and share new methodologies to facilitate efficient auditing of each society’s resources. The synergy created by incorporating these efforts within the framework of our strategic plan has allowed us to attain real outcomes. As we proceed along this path, we count on the commitment and efforts of the entire INTOSAI community to continue to make progress.

Among INTOSAI members, solidarity and a willingness to assist SAIs that require support are the hallmarks of interaction. Today, professionalism, technical ability, and quality of service are the essential elements in achieving effective, efficient, and economical performance. Consequently, SAI exchange programs are relevant because they allow experience to become a shared resource. Through these contacts, the more developed SAIs are honoring their commitment to their peers. We must continue to promote the development of common products, advances in the design of new methodologies, the incorporation of information technologies, and the dissemination of best practices among our community to the greatest extent possible.

Special attention must be paid to the upcoming renewal of INTOSAI’s strategic plan. The plan for 2011–2015 must take into account not only the undeniable successes achieved under the current plan but also recent developments in the world. It must effectively steer our organization toward the future so that we can keep up with the pace of change and be prepared for any challenges we may face.

The scope of supreme auditing goes well beyond figures and reports. Society has entrusted us with a great charge—to continuously monitor the use of public resources. This mission requires us to deepen our commitment to performing our task more efficiently and effectively. We are not alone in this mission. Rather, we are supported by INTOSAI—a great international community and organization that multiplies our efforts and enables us to address new challenges. INTOSAI’s strength is gathered from the strength of its members. Let us continue together to advance our efforts to promote a real culture of accountability.

The SAI’s role in promoting transparency and accountability is a universal principle that must prevail without exception. Society trusts us; therefore, we cannot disappoint it.

If you would like to share your point of view regarding INTOSAI or this editorial, I would be delighted to receive your comments at bfuentes@asf.gob.mx.