Technical Articles



International Journal of Auditing – July 2003

SAI Bangladesh: Work Plan for Enhancing Capacity

The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of Bangladesh has embarked upon a four-phased planning cycle to improve audit quality and to increase efficiency by enhancing its capabilities. This new project has identified short-term, mid-term, long-term, and tenure-term goals and is expected to result in more coherence, integration and accountability in all areas of my institution’s activities. I initiated this project when I assumed office earlier in 2003, and I am pleased to share our experiences with Journal readers.

A Four-Phased Work Plan

Short-term Goal: This first phase of the project began in January 2003 and is aimed at confidence building. During this cycle, the CAG visited all field offices and provided necessary guidance and instructions. All senior and mid-level officers were addressed on different occasions and the necessity to raise the quality of audit was underscored with them.

Mid-term Goal: During this 6-month period, a strong foundation is being built during phase one; future targets will also be identified. The majority of targets in this planning cycle are already being achieved, due in large part to the involvement of senior and mid-level officers in the field audit. This involvement should significantly increase the quality of audit by using the experience of upper level officials.

Long-term Goal: The long-term goal is expected to take 1 year and should receive a positive boost from the successful implementation of the mid-term goals.Tenure-term goal: This goal encompasses the length of the present CAG’s tenure.

These changes will be possible through the effective implementation of the short term, mid-term and long-term plan of the CAG.

Major Steps Underway

To achieve the goals established in the above plans, the CAG has undertaken a number of initiatives. These include the formation of different committees to identify and suggest ways to achieve planned goals. We have already achieved our short-term objectives. Some of the actions taken include the following:

  • An internal control system survey. This survey of the CAG’s internal control
    systems was conducted by a committee that submitted its report on March 15,
    2003. The Office of the CAG is implementing the most important of the survey’s recommendations. All Audit Directorates and other subordinate offices have been instructed to carry out similar studies within their respective offices, and to implement any recommendations made.
  • Modernizing course curricula for probationary officers. A committee was formed to examine the existing curricula of departmental training courses of the Bangladesh Civil Service (Audit & Accounts) Probationary officers. The committee revised and updated the departmental academic courses, incorporated a training simulation model, and established a program for short-term attachments to different training institutes and Charter Accountants (CA) firms. The committee’s April 2003 report was circulated to all heads of departments for their comments. The syllabus is expected to be finalized soon and will become operational following concurrence by the appropriate authorities.
  • Enhancing the capacity and delivery of the Financial Management Academy (FIMA). An in-depth study of FIMA was submitted to the CAG on February 18, 2003. The study—which looked at FIMA’s set-up, personnel, course curricula and effectiveness, feedback, course logistics, and IT training, and recommended ways to increase capacity—is under active review by the CAG’s office.
  • Updating Railway Accounting procedure. A task force was constituted to recommend measures to update the existing manuals and codes of the Bangladesh Railway system. The task force submitted its report on March 25, 2003, and the recommendations are under consideration by the CAG’s office.
  • Service intricacy of Railway Accounts personnel. A committee was formed to identify the intricacies in the service and other employment matters of the Railway Accounts personnel and to recommend suggested measures. On March 15, 2003, the committee submitted its report, which is under active consideration.
  • Railway Audit Management. A committee was formed to evaluate the Railway Audit Manual and to assess the effectiveness and appropriateness of the administrative and managerial aspects of the Railway Audit Directorate. The committee was also charged with looking into the existing auditing approach. It submitted its report on April 20, 2003, and its recommendations are being considered by the CAG.<
  • Designing a Model Inspection Report (IR) and Final Audit Report. A committee is working to develop a model reporting format that is easily understandable and attractive to the various users.
  • Review of activities of the Overseas Missions Audit Directorate. A committee submitted its review of the directorate on April 27, 2003. The review identifies weaknesses in the planning and execution of overseas audit programs and suggested measures to improve reporting by Bangladesh Embassies abroad. The report is now under consideration.
  • Human Resource Development. A draft proposal to establish guidance and criteria for selecting officers for overseas training has been sent to all departments for comments and suggestions. When finalized, these policy guidelines and criteria will help the SAI improve personnel planning.
  • Information Technology policy. A policy framework of IT Policy (including IT Audit) is being prepared. The CAG expects this framework to be finalized soon.
  • Reforms. The CAG office anticipates that the Financial Management Reforms Project—which is funded by the UK’s DFID and the Royal Netherlands Embassy—will help us to move forward with actions needed to successfully implement our goals. Furthermore, our work recognizes and builds on previous reform projects such as Reforms in Budgeting and Expenditure Control, Strengthening the Office of the CAG and FIMA.

The success of the CAG office’s efforts to enhance the capabilities of the SAI depends on our ability to meet the goals of the four-phased planning cycle. As we move toward a new future, we are dedicated to developing a more dynamic and professional institution. Effective international cooperation with other SAIs within the ASOSAI community and globally through INTOSAI will also help us achieve our goals. For more information, contact: Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, telephone: ++880-2-931-46-53; fax: ++880-2-831-26-90; and email: ahsan@cagbd.org.