The National Audit Office of the Kingdom of Bahrain – Focus on Audit Training
As part of its strategic objectives, the National Audit Office (NAO) of the Kingdom of Bahrain is dedicated to build the capacity of its staff. In 2021, for instance, employees from the NAO participated in 30 internal and 47 external training courses that were held in cooperation with local, regional and international organizations. Despite the exceptional circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the NAO implemented its training programme for 2021 as planned and is continuing with its comprehensive training plan for 2022.
One important part of the NAO’s 2021 training plan was a programme on capacity building and enhancing skills and expertise in the field of Forensic Auditing which was conducted in cooperation with global company Kroll, and which was offered to its employees and other relevant entities in Bahrain. The programme included 6 separate courses over a period of 5 months with completion in November 2021, covering topics such as Overview on Forensic Auditing, Auditing Financial Crimes, Advanced Analysis of Big Data, Forensic Email Review Techniques, Investigative Interview Techniques, Forensic Reporting and Evidencing. Besides, the NAO’s training plan for 2021 included training for NAO employees on topics such as “Auditing the oil and extractive industries”, “The investment sector”, “Financial Analysis Skill”, “Financial Indicators”, “Sustainable Development”, “Crisis Management”, and “Disaster Recovery”.
The NAO’s focus on training continues in 2022 as it prepares a 3-year training plan for employees of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in the Gulf. As a member of the Training and Development Committee of the SAIs of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, the NAO agreed at the beginning of this year to adopt three new training programmes: Performance Audit of Public Policies”, “Risk-Based Audit in accordance with the COSO (Committee of Sponsoring Organisations) Initiative” and Accrual-Based Government Accounting considering IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards)” which have been added to the already approved training programmes on “Auditing Government Procurement”, “Auditing Public Debt” and “INTOSAI Professional Standards Framework and related developments”.
In addition to the GCC training plan, the NAO follows its own training programme. During the first quarter of 2022, the NAO conducted and participated in 14 training courses. It held a regional webinar on “Auditing Public Debt” in conjunction with the Secretariat General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf which was attended by participants from various audit offices from the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries. The three-day course was presented by Mr. Ahmed Buti, Audit Manager at the NAO Regularity Audit Directorate which covered the definition of public debt, the role of the law in defining its components, the strategic importance of public debt at country level as well as the procedures for financial, performance and compliance audit of public debt in accordance with INTOSAI standards and best practices in this field.
Furthermore, the NAO organized a four-day regional course on “Risk-based Accounting” in cooperation with ARABOSAI. The course was conducted by Administrative Audit Director Mr. Mahmood Mahmood and Senior Auditor at the NAO’s Administrative Audit Directorate, Mr. Hasan Yusuf, and discussed risk-based auditing tools and approaches, how to assess the risks and deal with the identified risk levels based on the entity’s nature of activity, and how this is reflected in the audit plan.
In addition, the NAO held a local training course on “Financial Audit” for the Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two-day course was presented by Ms Ameera Madan and Ms May Alkhulaif, Audit Managers at the NAO’s Regularity Audit Directorate. Participants were introduced to the NAO (establishment, law, objectives, competencies, standards, audit types it conducts), the planning of audit tasks, risk assessment, and relevant laws and regulations. The program also touched on financial analysis methods, detailed audit checks and audit procedures, and provided an overview of the annual report prepared by the NAO.
The NAO’s focus on continuous training and professional development of its employees constitutes an essential part to help fulfil its mission to verify the soundness and legality of the use of public funds and accomplish its vision of a highly professional independent audit institution assisting the entities subject to its audit in improving performance, ensuring accountability and enhancing transparency.
The NAO encourages its staff to obtain audit qualifications approved by reputable international institutes and organisations, such as CPA (Certified Public Accountant), ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), CMA (Certified Management Accountant), CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor).
Comptroller and Auditor General of India Session of the UN Panel of External Auditors
In December 2021, regular session of the UN Panel of External Auditors (6 & 7 December) and Technical Group meeting (1 to 3 December) were held at the UN Headquarters, New York, USA. The CAG of India chaired the UN Panel session. Important issues discussed in this session included a discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on the internal controls of UN organizations. Panel Members emphasized that despite the pandemic, it is essential to strengthen the controls in place; establishing appropriate and comprehensive levels of assurance and monitoring to ensure that the use of resources can be appropriately controlled and scrutinized.
Visit of SAI Maldives delegation
H.E Mr. Hussain Niyazy, Auditor General of Maldives with Mr. Girish Chandra Murmu, Comptroller and Auditor General of India
A six member SAI Maldives delegation led by H.E Mr. Hussain Niyazy, Auditor General of Maldives visited India from 28th February to 11th March, 2022. As part of the visit, they stayed briefly at NAAA Shimla and iCISA, Noida. The delegation met with CAG to discuss the operationalization of the recently renewed MoU and the way forward for both the SAIs.
The 18th annual meeting of INTOSAI Compliance Audit Sub-Committee (CAS)
CAG of India as the CAS Chair inaugurating 18th CAS meeting on 28 October, 2021
The 18th Annual Meeting of the INTOSAI Compliance Audit Sub-Committee (CAS) was held on 28 October 2021. The meeting was hosted by the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of India, Chair of CAS. Representatives from 20 member SAIs, AFROSAI-E and SAI Thailand as observers and the INTOSAI Development Initiative participated in the meeting. The meeting was inaugurated by the C&AG of India in his capacity as chair of CAS.
The C&AG of India, in his opening remarks, pointed out that the impact of compliance audit goes beyond plugging leakages in Government expenditure and saving funds to improving public accountability and transparency.
He touched upon the efforts of Supreme Audit Institutions in conducting compliance audits of COVID-19 related initiatives which have helped, on the one hand, their respective governments in streamlining and improving their pandemic management strategies and making mid-term adjustments, and on the other, the SAIs themselves in reassessing their strategies and methods in conducting audits under changed circumstances. The C&AG of India proposed that the 3I approach – innovating, institutionalizing and integrating – may be an ideal strategy to address the major challenge of capacity building.
CAG of India participates in the 75th INTOSAI Governing Board Meeting
The 75th Meeting of the INTOSAI Governing Board was held virtually on 23 November 2021. Presenting the report of the Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Services Committee, the CAG of India reiterated the KSC’s commitment to fostering cooperation and sharing of knowledge between the Supreme Audit Institutions to enable them to ensure public accountability and improve governance.
The CAG of India highlighted two important guidance documents developed by KSC, through its working groups, to guide Supreme Audit Institutions around the world to conduct audit of Disaster Management and Privatization. He expressed the hope that the guidance on audit of disaster management will help Governments in assessing and addressing the increasingly systemic and complex disaster-related risk and strengthening the international collective effort to achieve the overall 2030 agenda of Sustainable Development. Reviewing the work of the working groups of KSC, the CAG of India expressed confidence that KSC’s activities will expand the horizon of audit activities, augment audit capacity, and facilitate SAIs in adopting new technology and methodologies. The CAG of India concluded his report by highlighting SAI India’s decision to celebrate 16th of November as Audit Day every year, to rededicate ourselves to the mission of promoting good governance through our continuous quest for excellence in public audit.