Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) have an important role to play in strengthening the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring that a country’s budget is on track. Checking and reporting on the legality and accuracy of public accounts, as well as the credibility of budgets, can be instrumental in governments delivering on their sustainable development promises.
“Strengthening Budget Credibility through External Audits: An Auditor’s Handbook” – the output of a two-year collaboration between Supreme Audit Institutions, civil society, international organizations, and other public finance experts – explores different approaches to auditing budget credibility. Drawing on SAIs’ experience in different regions, the result is a practical overview of existing and potential audit work that can contribute to improving budget credibility.
The Introduction highlights the unique position of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) to help assess and improve budget credibility; summarizes the current status of audit work in this area; and provides an overview of the handbook.
Chapter 1 introduces the concept of budget credibility in the context of the wider public financial management (PFM) system and reviews relevant international standards and tools that provide useful resources for auditors.
Author: Aránzazu Guillán Montero (DPIDG/UNDESA), with contributions from Maximiliano Castillo Carrillo (Office of the Auditor General of the Nation of Argentina).
Chapter 2 operationalizes the concept of budget credibility, reflects on strategic considerations for selecting budget credibility as an audit topic, and touches on relevant audit standards and processes. Annex 2.1 provides examples of credibility-related issues and risks that have been examined by SAIs.
Author: Aránzazu Guillán Montero (DPIDG/UNDESA).
Chapter 3 provides guidance on how to identify and assess budget credibility risks across the budget cycle at the whole-of-government level. Annex 3.1 offers questions to probe budget credibility risks at the whole-of-government level.
Authors: Martin Bamulumbye and Peter Oyo Mugenyi (Office of the Auditor General of Uganda), with contributions from the SAIs of Argentina, Brazil, Georgia, Indonesia, Morocco, the Philippines, and Zambia.
Chapter 4 focuses on SAI’s experience in auditing the performance of the PFM system using both audits and other assessment methodologies. Annexes 4.1 and 4.2 present examples of an evaluation method (RIAS) and an audit design matrix, respectively, for planning an assessment of the PFM system’s performance.
Authors: Winarno, Thopan Aji Pratama, Ramadhan Nugraha Putra, and Anisa (Audit Board of The Republic of Indonesia), with contributions from Cynthia Grace Matimba, Ngawa Mphande, and William Chibesa (National Audit Office of Zambia).
Chapter 5 provides guidance on auditing the state budget or year-end accounts on a recurring basis. These audits generally apply a financial and compliance focus to the annual budget cycle, but can also incorporate performance elements. Annex 5.1 provides a sample audit planning matrix to prepare an annual audit of the state budget examining budget credibility.
Authors: Neemias Albert de Souza and Roberto Santos Victer (Federal Court of Accounts of Brazil), with contributions from the SAIs of Argentina, Georgia, Morocco, the Philippines, and Uganda.
Chapter 6 examines auditing of budget credibility risks at the entity or program level. Annex 6.1 suggests selection criteria for auditing budget credibility and Annex 6.2 presents a self-checklist to guide auditors assessing budget credibility risks at the program/entity level.
Authors: Cora Lea A. Dela Cruz, Josephine B. Manalo, and Paul Jonel Pollicar (Commission on Audit of the Philippines), with contributions from the SAIs of Argentina, Brazil, Georgia, Indonesia, Morocco, and Zambia.
Chapter 7 highlights the importance of monitoring and follow-up to audit recommendations, illustrating different ways SAIs can work with stakeholders to meaningfully strengthen budget credibility. Elements of a strong audit report are also emphasized. Annex 7.1 suggests ways to integrate budget credibility into the audit process while enhancing stakeholder engagement.
Authors: Maximiliano Castillo Carrillo and Anibal Kohlhuber (Office of the Auditor General of the Nation of Argentina), with contributions from the SAIs of Georgia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
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