Cover Story

International Journal of Auditing – October 2008

Writing for the Journal

Writing for the <em>Journal</em>

In the inaugural issue of this Journal in January 1974, the editorial was entitled “International Communication” and noted that the Journal’s establishment was “inspired by the need for a greater understanding, on a world-wide basis, of the government auditor’s common problems.” Today, 34 years later, communication remains at the heart of INTOSAI’s motto, “Mutual Experience Benefits All.” The open and honest exchange of experience and the free flow of information among INTOSAI members are essential to continuous improvement for all of us. The Journal is proud to play a central role in this effort.

In this spirit, INTOSAI members and others in the international accountability community are encouraged and invited to write for the Journal. This editorial presents some ideas on how to do this. We believe that this is a particularly timely topic as INTOSAI’s task force on communications prepares to meet in Vienna in November 2008.

Contributions to the Journal can take many forms:

Editorials: In an editorial, heads of supreme audit institutions (SAI) and leaders of other accountability organizations and partner institutions have the opportunity to express views and thoughts on issues and challenges that are of particular concern to our community. Often provocative, editorials provide a “view from the top” and have been invaluable in framing discussions and advancing INTOSAI’s goals. Over the years, editorials have been written not only by INTOSAI leaders but also by the Secretary General of the United Nations, the President of the World Bank, and the President of the Institute of Internal Auditors, among others. Editorials are generally about 1,000 words long.

Articles: In keeping with the Journal’s use as a teaching tool for audit practitioners, articles most likely to be accepted are those that deal with practical issues facing government auditors. For example, we welcome case studies that describe knowledge learned from actual work experience, including audit techniques and methodology. Articles on best practices and lessons learned are always useful to our readers, but theoretical or academic articles are generally not considered for publication.

Articles are generally 1,500–2,000 words long and can include illustrative graphs and charts as appropriate. Prospective authors are asked to consider the words of Cicero—the Roman statesman, philosopher, orator, and writer—who said, “When you wish to instruct, be brief, so that men’s minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.”

News in Brief: News items on numerous topics are appropriate, including but not limited to the following:

  • new auditors general (biographical information and photographs),
  • annual audit reports,
  • special SAI reports and publications,
  • new audit and evaluation methodologies,
  • new audit legislation or developments in an SAI’s mandate, and
  • training and professional development programs conducted by SAIs.

News in Brief items are generally three to four paragraphs long.

Inside INTOSAI: Here readers find news about the work of INTOSAI’s committees, working groups, and task forces, as well as reports from our seven regional working groups, the General Secretariat, and other special programs, such as the biennial United Nations/INTOSAI seminar. In advance of each issue, Journal staff solicit items for this section directly from the heads of these groups. Like News in Brief items, Inside INTOSAI reports are generally three to four paragraphs long. In all cases, we publish contact information so readers can learn more about INTOSAI’s work and programs.

Other regular features: Staff responsible for the INTOSAI strategic plan and the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) prepare regular updates on their work. Each issue of the Journal also features a calendar of regional and INTOSAI-wide events, and we invite organizers of such events to send us the relevant dates and locations.

The Journal welcomes the opportunity to be an active contributor to INTOSAI’s communications strategy and to work with our partners to help achieve its goals. The strategy identifies the following five objectives:

  • raise the knowledge of INTOSAI members to a uniform level by using existing means of communication,
  • support INTOSAI members and promote convergence,
  • convey the concerns of government audit to decision-makers and opinion leaders,
  • strengthen the standing and reputation of SAIs and INTOSAI, and
  • disseminate the benefits of SAIs and INTOSAI among partner organizations.

When the Journa lbegan in 1974, it was the principal means of communication for our community. Today, we have many communication vehicles—including journals and newsletters published by regional working groups and committees, INTOSAI circulars, and the Internet, as well as informal and personal communication networks that bring us together. The Journal is committed to working collaboratively through our print editions and, increasingly, through our Web site (which we plan to make more robust and dynamic) as part of INTOSAI’s communications strategy. All of us at the Journal look forward to hearing from you and working with you to advance our profession.

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