The ALSAI participates in the International Fellowship Program organized by the US Government Audit Office

26.07.2019

For the fourth year in a row SAI auditors participate in the international fellowship program organized by the US Government Audit Office (GAO) during the period March 20 - July 12, 2019. This program for 2019 was attended by 21 participants from 18 different countries, from ALSAI took part Ms. Ermira Vojka, Senior Auditor in the Performance Audit Department.

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Source: GAO
IAFP 2019 Participants

The International Auditor Fellowship Program (IAFP) organized by GAO is a 4-month program, which includes 640 hours of training in total. It is organized in trainings, seminars, conferences, e-learning as well as independent study and work to prepare a strategic organizational document from participating auditors. Already in its 40th year of organization, the program counts 632 participants from 107 countries worldwide and aims to assist SAI-s in enhancing their professional capacity by referring to best audit practices,  such as those of the GAO.

For 4 months auditors and executives of middle and high level from the participating SAI-s are trained in important directions of professional development. Participants get to know and learn how GAO plans, manages and communicates its work, recognize and learn GAO audit practices in order to improve working practices in their SAI-s, learn technical and managerial aspects of audit development performance, exchange information about audit practices in their SAI-s, improve and develop their professional and personal training by training in aspects focused on leadership skills. The training topics selected in this program are comprehensive and cover the entire performance audit cycle at GAO, ranging from audit planning, establishing audit teams, conducting on-site audit (collecting, evaluating, and analyzing data), report drafting, quality assurance, communication of findings and recommendations, etc.

In addition to the training provided at the GAO as part of the program, the participants attended: Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP) Conference. This conference is a collaborative venture between the Office of Budget Management, GAO, the Department of  Treasure and the Office of Personnel Management that work in cooperation with each other and other operating agencies to improve financial management practices and policies. The overall goal of JFMIP is to improve and coordinate financial management practices and policies across the government so that they will make a significant contribution to the effective and efficient planning and operation of government programs, the World Bank Workshop in Cooperation with Supreme Audit Institutions, its role and SAI-s role in implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
It was developed a two-day visit to the New York State Audit Office, where participants were introduced to the Office's audit practices regarding data analysis, how auditors use Open Data in conducting audits, and the challenges the auditors are faced in using new technologies in conducting audits.

In addition to topics aimed to introduce auditors to GAO policies, procedures and practices, learning the techniques and aspects of performance audit management, an important part of the program was devoted to training participants in developing or improving leadership skills and personal development. Topics such as “Recognizing and identifying unconscious prejudices, the impact they have on our work and how we can reduce them”, “Empowering and motivating employees”, “How to create and maintain high performing audit groups”  and many others were rated by the participants as very valuable.

Throughout the program and at the end of it all the participants had the opportunity to meet with senior GAO executives: Mr. Gene Dodaro - Comptroller General of GAO, Ms. Kate Siggerud - Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Karl Maschino - Chief Administrative and Financial Officer and Mr. James Christian Blockwood -  Director of the Strategic Planning and External Liaison office .

During these meetings, which were conceived as conversations, participants became even more acquainted with the work GAO does and the challenges it faces in fulfilling its obligations to Congress.  Mr. Dodaro during the discussions expressed the importance that GAO gives to this program in which a large number of employees are engaged full or part time in this organization.  He emphasized that he is happy about the contribution GAO gives to enhancing the capacity of SAI auditors and encouraged participants to make the most of this excellent opportunity.

In the meeting with Mr. Blockwood the auditors had the opportunity that in addition to the GAO-s dedication to organizing this program, to express their feedback on the experience gained over four months. Regarding the ALSAI, Mr. Blockwood expressed special respect for the Chairman of ALSAI Mr. Bujar Leskaj and appreciated the work done over the years by the ALSAI in increasing the professional and audit capacity of the staff.

At the end the participants submitted the organizational strategic document prepared during the program development. This document is prepared under the supervision of a mentor who is a GAO employee at management level and related to the topic of the strategic document.  Mrs. Vojka prepared and submitted the strategic document on “Increasing the Impact of Performance Audits on Environmental Matters - Learning from GAO Practices”.

During the official graduation ceremony held on July 11, 2019, in his speech Mr. Dodaro encouraged the graduates to “continue their professional development and active involvement not only in their SAI-s but also beyond, in the INTOSAI community”. He further said he believes that “it is through this cooperation, as well as the support and participation of the SAI-s that INTOSAI-s work continues to prosper”.  

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Source: GAO
GAO Auditor General addressing IAFP 2019 graduates

At the end of the fellowship program, participants were provided with a certificate of successful completion of this program.

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