International Journal of Government Auditing – Autumn 2017
Pictured above: Mr. Miloslav Kala, President of the Czech Republic Supreme Audit Office (SAO). Inset photo: SAO Czech Republic staff.
The Supreme Audit Office of the Czech Republic (SAO) was elected to chair the European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI) at the Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, in May. The SAO, leading EUROSAI from 2020- 2023, will host the 2020 Congress in Prague.
The SAO summarizes the vision for EUROSAI with Project "3C"-Communication, Cooperation and Comparison. Under the 3C vision, the SAO strives to achieve effective collaborative relationships during its presidency, recognizing that EUROSAI should be efficient and add value to its members. The aim is to achieve maximum benefit with minimum effort.
The Benchmarking Information Exchange Project (BIEP) is a 3C endeavor that provides readily available information to all-a goal promoted through the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs).
The platform, launched by the SAO last year at a V4+2 (Visegrád countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) + Austria and Slovenia)) meeting, uses advanced benchmarking methods to share and compare information based on the same methodology.
For example, creating a database of comparable audit information will allow peer results to be easily retrieved. Similarly, BIEP makes it possible to search SAO-created databases (audits and products) as outlined in EUROSAI's Strategic Goal 3 (GT3 EUROSAI).
Within BIEP, various state policy data monitored and shared by auditing authorities bearing significant impact to citizens will be systematically compared. To date, the SAO has proposed five areas in which to test international comparisons: real estate infrastructure, social housing, eGovernment, education, and penitentiary. The SAO has been processing two areas within its current audit operations-real estate infrastructure and social housing-which will provide a basis for a new common benchmarking methodology.
It is critical that the information be comparable, that the methodologies possess a common basis. One example of such an approach is the excise tax administration coordinated audit by the Czech and Slovak Republics.
The audit included a comparison of information systems where the common basis was European Union legislation, which established conditions. Thus, the systems were based on identical parameters. Comparing the audit results revealed that the information system utilized by the Czech Republic cost less than that used by the Slovak Republic.
Accessibility and information clarity facilitate discovering how various audit organizations approach similar situations. This knowledge sharing provides inspiration and best practices, allowing audit entities and public organizations to be in a better place to provide value to citizens, a mission the SAO believes is crucial for EUROSAI success.