The Support to Financial Audit for the State Audit Organization of Lao PDR project held a kick-off ceremony and 1st Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting on 28 February 2017. It marked the official start of the new trilateral cooperation project between the SAO of Lao PDR, the Office of Auditors General (OAG) of Thailand and GIZ. The two-year project aims to provide support to Supreme Audit Institutions of Lao PDR (SAO) in the area of financial audit to meet the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI). Delegates included Dr. Padapphet Sayakhot vice president of the SAO, Mr. Paisan Rupanichkij, Deputy Director General of TICA, Mrs. Sirin Phankasem, Deputy Auditor General of OAG, and Mr. Ernst Hustaedt, Country Director of GIZ Laos.
During the PSC meeting, the work plan and budget plan were presented to all stakeholders and feedback was taken into consideration by the project team to be used for further revision of the work plan. The PSC meeting takes place twice a year, and is one of the steering mechanisms to keep the project implementation on the right track by providing recommendations and/or approval on issues of concern. PSC members include relevant stakeholders from both local and international organizations.
Subsequently, the 1st mission began on March 1-7 where an internal working group made up of the SAO’s senior, intermediate, junior financial auditors, and staff from the SAO training institute was established. They identified the capacity gaps and needs of junior financial audit officers in order to develop a training curriculum and course-ware for them based on the ISSAI.
With the assistance of experts from the OAG, the group collected information on the general knowledge of ISSAI among SAO auditors, including current work practices and work-related obstacles. They also reviewed the SAO organizational structure, work process, its mandates, and laws and regulations on financial audit in Lao PDR through both group discussion and individual interviews.
The results show that SAO auditors are aware of the ISSAI and consider its application important in improving their work performance. However, gaps still remain in 5 audit process (pre-engagement, planning, field work, reporting and monitoring) and need to be fulfilled. These key findings will be used as the basis for designing training courses that match the demand of SAO and are in line with ISSAI. Training curriculum development for junior financial auditors is scheduled to start around the beginning of May 2017.
- Monnapa Poosomboonwattana