ICGFM Promotes Knowledge Transfer Among Public Financial Management Experts

Working globally with governments, organizations, and individuals, the International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management is dedicated to improving financial management by providing opportunities for professional development and information exchange.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Convergence of Public Sector Audit Standards

Jeanette Franzel, Managing Director, Financial Management and Assurance GAO was the moderator for the panel. The session started with an overview by Kelly Anerud, Senior Technical Manager, The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

Ms. Anerud described how International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) worked with the International Standards of Auditing with the International Auditing and Assurance Board (IAASB). She described how the "clarity" project enabled the convergence of public sector audit standards. She showed the INTOSAI and IFAC structure for developing standards and how these standards were rationalized.

Mr. Anerud described the differences between private and public sector audit including:

  • Terminology differences

  • Broader role of government audit, especially in performance

  • Inability for the government auditor to "withdrawal"

  • Need for confidentiality in private sector audit vs. transparency in public sector

  • Differences in materiality in government and what public expects to see reported

Jan Van Schalkwyk, Acting Corporate Executive from Auditor-General of South Africa described lessons learned. He described how audit is critical to democracy. Mr. Van Schalkwyk described the adoption audit standards by the Government of South Africa. Adoption of any standards in government requires legal standing and legal reform. He described challenges and lessons learned in adopting the INTOSAI standards. Mr. Van Schalkwyk pointed out that audit is critical to improving the lives of citizens.

Gail Flister Vallieres, Assistant Director, Financial Management and Assurance GAO described the move from the US "yellow book" standard to INTOSAI and international audit standards. Ms. Vallieres described how GAO could not immediately move to INTOSAI standard. Instead, GAO is sequencing a convergence to the standard. This process was facilitated when the AICPA US private sector auditing converged with ISA. She showed how the audit standards consist of basic accounting principles with standards specific to the public sector.

The exposure draft of the yellow book is available at the GAO web site.

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