Inside INTOSAI

INTOSAI Auditing Standards Committee – April 2008

Finance and Administration Committee and Newly Established Task Force Meet in Washington, D.C.

On March 17, 2008, the INTOSAI Finance and Administration Committee and a new short-term task force met in Washington, D.C. This was the first meeting for the task force, which the INTOSAI Governing Board established at its 57th meeting in Mexico in November 2007. The task force is working under the committee’s direction to

  • develop a proposal for donor funding to strengthen member SAIs and support INTOSAI capacity building and
  • update the strategic plan for 2010-2015.


Finance and Administration Committee and task force members at their meeting in Washington, D.C.

The Chairman of the Finance and Administration Committee, Osama Faquih of Saudi Arabia, invited auditors general from the following SAIs to join the task force: Denmark (Chair, Professional Standards Committee/goal 1); Morocco (Chair, Capacity Building Committee/goal 2); Norway (INTOSAI Development Initiative); India (Chair, Knowledge Sharing Committee/goal 3); the United States (Vice-chair, Finance and Administration Committee/goal 4); and Austria (INTOSAI Secretary General). INTOSAI's Director of Strategic Planning was also asked to join the task force, and Mr. Faquih asked the SAI of the United States to be the chair.

The first order of business for the task force was reviewing the draft discussion paper entitled "Partnering for Progress to Fight Corruption, Promote Transparency, Improve Performance and Ensure Accountability: INTOSAI, the World Bank and the Donor Community Working Together to Strengthen the Capacity of Supreme Audit Institutions." This paper had been drafted at a working level meeting in London in February and circulated to task force members before the Washington meeting. The task force noted that the draft paper will serve as a basis for a memorandum of understanding and will help advance the continuing dialogue between INTOSAI and the donor community.

In addition, the task force discussed updating INTOSAI's strategic plan for 2010-2015. Kirsten Astrup, INTOSAI's Director of Strategic Planning, reported on plans for updating the strategic plan, which is to be presented to the 2010 INTOSAI Congress in South Africa. The task force agreed that its methodology for updating the plan will adhere to the principles of consultation and consensus that were essential in developing and adopting INTOSAI's current strategic plan.

Following the task force meeting in the morning, the full Finance and Administration Committee met to discuss a range of INTOSAI governance issues, including associate membership, INTOSAI's financial position, and the results of the task force's initial meeting. The Secretary General reported that the World Bank has joined INTOSAI as an associate member and that two professional organizations are considering membership. He also reported a positive financial picture for INTOSAI, noting that annual assessments and voluntary contributions (from the SAIs of Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Kuwait) combined with prudent budgeting have resulted in an excess of income over expenditures. The committee also discussed the donor funding and strategic plan proposals, offering suggestions and endorsement for both.

For more information, contact: spel@gao.gov

Subcommittee on Financial Audit Guidelines

New Task Forces in 2008

Following the endorsement of the nine International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) completed to date, the work of FAS continues with intensity. Two new task forces will be set up during the first part of 2008:

  • A practice note task force will deal with International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 500: Audit Evidence and ISA 501: Audit Evidence-Additional Considerations for Specific Items.
  • A special expert team will deal with ISA 200: Objective and General Principles Governing an Audit of Financial Statements, ISA 210: Terms of Audit Engagements, ISA 240: The Auditor's Responsibility Relating to Fraud in an Audit of Financial Statements, and ISA 250: Considerations of Laws and Regulations in an Audit of Financial Statements.

The practice notes developed by these task forces are expected to be exposed for comment later this year.

New Nominations Not Requested for FAS Reference Panel

The FAS Reference Panel currently has a sufficient pool of resources to draw upon when appointing back-office experts and experts on practice note task forces or on International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) task forces. Therefore, the FAS will make use of the competences already represented on the panel and will not issue further general calls to the INTOSAI community for new nominations before the next INCOSAI in 2010. However, FAS is still requesting input from all SAIs on the exposure drafts, especially from Courts of Account.

Reference Panel Meeting in Stockholm

A group of Reference Panel experts were invited to an introductory meeting in Stockholm in January to receive an introduction to FAS work processes and routines from the Project Secretariat. Experts from Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Estonia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, the Slovak Republic, South Africa, and Uganda participated in the meeting.

Reference Panel experts at the January 2008 FAS meeting in Stockholm
Reference Panel experts at the January 2008 FAS meeting in Stockholm.

Subcommittee Meetings in 2008

The most recent FAS meeting, held in London April 8-9, 2008, was hosted by the United Kingdom National Audit Office to discuss issues related to the Compliance Audit Guidelines Subcommittee chair and the secretariat. In addition, a group of experienced experts met in London to evaluate FAS projects and work processes.

In October 2008, the Korean SAI will host a meeting of the subcommittee.

For additional information, please contact the FAS Secretariat:

Fax: +46-8-51714111
E-mail: projectsecretariat@riksrevisionen.se
Web site: http://psc.rigsrevisionen.dk/fas

EUROSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing Establishes Special Subgroup

In November 2006, following discussions and consultations, the Assembly of the EUROSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing approved a resolution at its fourth meeting in Luxembourg to establish a "Special Subgroup on the Audit of Natural, Man-caused Disasters Consequences and Radioactive Wastes Elimination." The subgroup currently is chaired by the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine, and its members are the SAIs of Ukraine, Albania, Azerbaijan, Poland, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, and Switzerland and the European Court of Auditors.

According to the subgroup's terms of reference, European SAIs are encouraged to actively audit the issues under the subgroup's jurisdiction by conducting cooperative audits, developing relevant recommendations and guidelines, facilitating continuous monitoring and exchange of modern methods and standards, and developing communication with other INTOSAI and EUROSAI working bodies on environmental auditing.

Interested SAIs decided to initiate the subgroup's activities in connection with a major, ongoing international coordinated audit of the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, particularly in light of the large volume of international assistance at stake, the significant ongoing challenges that remain, and the risks and uncertainties that continue to surround the Chernobyl accident. Six members of the subgroup (the SAIs of Ukraine, Poland, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, and Switzerland and the European Court of Auditors), as well as the interested SAIs of Germany and the Netherlands, are participating in this Chernobyl audit.

Participants in the December 2007 meeting of the special EUROSAI subgroup in Kiev
Participants in the December 2007 meeting of the special EUROSAI subgroup in Kiev

In 2007, the SAI of Ukraine hosted two subgroup meetings in Kiev, where eight SAIs participating in the audit and other invited parties shared their views and findings of the national audits conducted under the international project. During the second meeting on December 4-5, 2007, participants discussed the final audit results as well as the structure of the joint report and procedure for its signing and presentation at the VII EUROSAI Congress in Krakow in 2008. The Accounting Chamber of Ukraine, as the audit coordinator, will develop the draft joint report, which is to be presented for approval at the next subgroup meeting in May 2008. It is also expected that prospective subgroup activities for 2009-2011, including audits, will be negotiated and agreed upon at this meeting.

The subgroup seeks the cooperation of all SAIs who have a keen interest in auditing issues associated with natural, nuclear safety, and radioactive contamination.

For additional information, contact subgroup secretariat:

Fax: +38 044 2342030
E-mail: ird@ac-rada.gov.ua
Web site: www.ac-rada.gov.ua

ARABOSAI/EUROSAI Meeting on Environmental Auditing

In February 2008, the State Audit Bureau of Kuwait hosted the joint meeting of representatives from ARABOSAI and EUROSAI to discuss the role and experiences of SAIs in environmental audit. Delegations from 28 countries attended the meeting, and 17 country papers were presented.

Participants in the ARABOSAI/EUROSAI meeting on environmental auditing, hosted by the SAI of Kuwait

Recommendations resulting from the meeting included the following:

  • Cooperation should be encouraged among SAIs, institutions responsible for environmental auditing, and environmental research centers when adopting topics on environmental auditing.
  • Arab and European member SAIs should be invited to participate in joint audit processes for issues of international concern.
  • SAIs should take advantage of the outputs of the INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing.
  • SAIs should collaborate to implement joint environmental review programs.
  • Professional experiences, environmental reports, audit guidelines, and environmental indicators should be exchanged between ARABOSAI and EUROSAI members.
  • Peer reviews of environmental audits should be activated among SAIs.
  • Environmental audit frameworks should include national strategies for sustainable development.
  • SAIs may hire external consultants or experts to perform specific services that require specialized expertise related to the environment.

For additional information, contact the State Audit Bureau of Kuwait:

E-mail: training@sabq8.org
Web site: http://www.audit.kuwait.net