ALSAI attends Young EUROSAI conference in London

14.11.2019

Based on the success of the first Young EUROSAI Conference developed in Rotterdam in november 2013, young auditors across Europe initiated a continuous practice of sharing experiences with one another. The vision was to organize a Conference that gives representatives of Supreme Audit Institutions (about 35 years of age and below) the opportunity to exchange new ideas and solutions to the challenges facing Supreme Audit Institutions, today and in the future.

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For 2019 the Young EUROSAI Conference was developed in London on november 5 - 8. The topic chosen for this year was “Relevance”. The reason the organizers chose this topic is related to the conditions under which Supreme Audit Institutions operate.

Today we are characterized by the rapid flow of information, while technological, social and political conditions are constantly changing and automatically SAI-s must adapt to these changes.

The ALSAI was represented by Mr. Azmi Stringa, Department Director, Ms. Eriola Hoxha, Auditor and Ms. Erjola Meçaj, Auditor.

During the Conference, the participating auditors along with the Organizers explored the challenges that SAI-s face by sharing practices, projects and innovations for each Institution's core solutions in order to continue to remain relevant.

On the first day of the Conference, on november 5th, the invitees to the panel were:

- Lord Bichard KCB, who after the welcoming speech at the Conference shared some insights emphasizing the importance that each SAI should have to consider changes in society during the audit work.

- Meg Hillier, spoke about the critical role of the United Kingdom Parliament that has never been more important than in these times of challenges to political and economic performance.

- David Hencke presented an interesting tableau of the latest changes, especially NAO.

- Gareth Davies shared his unique perspective as the newly appointed Controller and Auditor General on future challenges in the area of ​​auditing.

- Nick Kirby spoke about the importance of public confidence, democracy and the public official's sense of integrity.

- President Seyit Ahmed Baş, Chairman of the Court of Accounts of Turkey, who also holds the position of  EUROSAI leader, shared the common challenges for SAI-s and emphasized the appropriate approach to emerging issues in measuring audit quality.

On the second day of the Conference, on november 6, the participating auditors were divided into groups to work on the Workshops on topics selected during the registration phase as participants of the Conference. The ALSAI representatives participated in the following Workshops:

Workshop: The Impact of SAI-s, how can we become influential?

 

Lithuania and Israel led this session where they investigated ways to help increasing and distributing the information, as well as identifying the identity and values ​​of SAI-s, adapting messages to different stakeholders.  They also suggested using graphs and developing shorter reports.

 

Workshop: How can SAI-s stay relevant to legislative changes?

Croatia's representatives shared insights such as how they financially audit political parties and share findings according to their values ​​in relation to money and Parliament.

Workshop: Innovations in political parties audits, Spain brought innovation to the political parties audit system as a solid process on data collection.

Workshop: Liberalization of audit principles.

This workshop was presented by Belarus where they explained their audit principles and how they involve public and private organizations. One of the solutions presented was to give the opportunity to audited bodies to improve before penalizing.

The ALSAI presented and directed  the Workshop on “The importance of BIG DATA auditing”  which was presented by the Director of the Department Mr. Stringa. 

The presentation included:

- A general presentation of the SAI of Albania;

- Auditing and reporting on State Budget Execution - Summary of the Albanian State Economy and Budget;

- Key Issues in State Budget Execution;

- The role of Big Data in ALSAI audits, where were presented 3 study cases:

- Use of Big Data in State Budget Execution audits;

- Use of Big Data in audit of Procurement Procedures;

- Use of Big Data in audit of the Health Insurance Fund.

Mr. Stringa with study cases showed for the SAI-s representatives in this workshop, on how auditing based on data analytics is changing the traditional mindset and methodology of auditing, by identifying high risk areas in order to close gaps for abuse and how Big Data was successfully used to audit the State Budget, without which it would be impossible to achieve successful audits and fraudelent activity analysis as an essential way to ensure that the audit remains effective. It was emphasized the need for continuous training, which the ALSAI has paid particular attention, in order to ensure increased audit capacity and people's ability to use this data.

The use of big data in the State Budget audit has proven to have added value, based on the results achieved and ALSAI is currently working on expanding the use of big data in other areas of audit.

On the third and final day of the Conference, the questions raised during the development of the workshops were answered and SAI Auditors became clearer about their mission to meet the challenges of the future.

Through “brain storming” at this Conference were identified the most important challenges facing Supreme Audit Institutions today and the solutions to them:

1. How can Supreme Audit Institutions stay relevant to their audiences?

SAI-s need to consider who their audience is and what are the unique characteristics of a Supreme Audit Institution that makes it relevant. Our initial hypothesis has led us to define our audience: government, media, and the public. The unique characteristics of a Supreme Audit Institution are that it is independent, transparent and reliable.

2. How can Supreme Audit Institutions ensure their independence from public, media and government pressures?

The freedom to give balanced and independent audit judgments is what makes the role of the Supreme Audit Institution so special. In our modern times, the need for a fair, balanced and independent appraiser becomes increasingly essential. For audit judgments to be relevant, reliable, and effective, they must be free from outside influence.

3. How can Supreme Audit Institutions ensure that their work is continuously trusted by the public, media and government?

The debate over “fake news” has led to a growing distrust of the once very reliable sources of information. Supreme Audit Institutions may not be immune from this growing distrust and it is important to explore what we need to do, to ensure that we continue to be a publicly trusted institution.

4. How can Supreme Audit Institutions continue to be rated as reliable?

The importance of the Supreme Audit Institution is strongly linked to its credibility as an Institution. The independence and transparency discussed above, undoubtedly both bring about the credibility of an Institution.

At the conclusion of the Conference, the organizers emphasized how important it is for Audit Institutions to continually update themselves, in order to have the same strength, power and impact on their stakeholders.

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