The International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Subcommittee on Internal Control Standards met March 3-4, 2020, in Bucharest, Romania—just before the COVID-19 Pandemic affected participation in international events. Nearly 30 delegates representing Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) from all parts of the world participated in the two-day event. Stakeholders in attendance included the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) Secretariat, Forum for INTOSAI Professional Pronouncements (FIPP), Institute of Internal Auditors, and Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. INTOSAI’s Performance Audit Subcommittee, a key contributor to projects and performance audit perspectives, also participated.
Event discussions revolved around the FIPP/PSC relationship, ongoing projects, and the subcommittee’s role in the reformed INTOSAI standard-setting process.
Participants engaged in robust discussions on progress made in understanding, consolidating and improving guidance on internal controls in an audit. The project, tentatively titled, “Guidance on Auditing Internal Control,” aims to support auditing internal control systems by providing principles based on a common understanding and examining internal control systems in relation to risks. The project goal is to address the subcommittee’s focus on what is audited (as expressed in government guidance and standards) while contributing to public interest. The project also intends to incorporate information technology tools to provide tailored support to meet current auditor needs.
Delegates also discussed “Guidance on Reliance on the Work of Internal Auditors,” currently in the initial draft stage. The document comprises a dual SAI/internal audit perspective: the one-way relationship (use of internal audit reports, findings and analyses in audit work) and two-way relationship (coordination of external and internal audit work). Event deliberations and follow-on dialogue with the project’s FIPP liaison resulted in several decisions aimed at avoiding duplication, considering FIPP practices, and ensuring project contributions are similarly focused. Further work, scheduled and approved at the meeting, will require flexibility due to COVID-19 Pandemic impacts.
A primary meeting outcome was defining the subcommittee’s role following INTOSAI standard-setting process reform, as the subcommittee would like to focus on horizontal issues extending beyond internal control, such as reviewing how standards and guidance are implemented by various governments.
The subcommittee seeks a host for the next meeting, which has initially been scheduled for May-June 2021 (depending on the global situation).