The AGSA looks at strategic government objectives, programmes and initiatives and responds to identified risks in our audit work. Our audit reports contribute to a culture of public sector accountability that makes a difference in the lives of South African citizens. We also strive to lead by example by being a responsible corporate citizen of South Africa. To do this, we have made the following commitments:
Visibility and relevance
Since 2007, we have embarked on a strong drive to promote better financial management by interacting with our auditees, even during periods when audits are not in progress. We give audit opinions, assessments and guidance in a simple, clear and relevant manner.
Our deliberately simplified audit reports now highlight factors (the so-called ‘root causes’) that hinder auditees’ progress towards clean administration. We regularly meet and confer with key decision-makers and those appointed to positions of oversight to ensure their full understanding of our reports. The analyses in our general reports (made accessible to the public) are aimed at improving the state’s overall financial management and service delivery reporting. We conduct two national roadshows annually to present this information to the political leadership, role players and committees responsible for financial oversight in a direct and user-friendly manner.
Lead by example
We are strongly committed to leading by example and upholding standards of excellence in all areas of our business, especially in the quality and timeliness of our reports, risk management, internal controls and transformation. To ensure the credibility of our audit processes, we have adopted internationally recognised auditing standards as the basis of our work. We have also, together with the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), made a substantial investment in the development of guidance for public sector auditors across the world. At the 20th Congress of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (XX INCOSAI) in 2010, we received the three-yearly Jörg Kandutsch Award for our important achievements and contributions in the field of public sector auditing.
Strengthening human resources
We contribute to our legacy by investing in our trainee auditor scheme which was launched in 2000 with 30 accountants. The scheme now boasts 900 trainee auditors and has stabilised our vacancy levels, improved leadership succession and ensured that the organisation continues to contribute appropriately in the future. We also focus strongly on aligning the organisational culture with our vision and values, as well as creating an environment in which our staff take accountability and have opportunities to improve their professional skills through leadership development and continuous learning.
We are committed to optimal performance by delivering efficient and cost-effective services. Our main initiatives aim to ensure that we continue to minimise auditing costs, control overheads, improve debt collection and reinvest in growth areas such as performance auditing. We manage contract work to control the cost of auditing and improve cost-effectiveness by implementing horizontal and sectoral auditing and other best practices.
In the 15 years since we started with international audits, we have received resounding positive feedback from stakeholders on the contributions we have made, especially on our work with the United Nations Board of Auditors (UNBOA). Our involvement in the international arena is a significant mark of achievement and entrenches our profile and reputation among global stakeholders and our peers. This has led to strategically useful opportunities to advise on and influence the governance and operational arrangements of international organisations. The AGSA’s involvement in these audits has provided an opportunity to make significant contributions to governance reforms.
International professional bodies
To maintain our level of professionalism, the AGSA has actively participated in the professional bodies that govern the disciplines of supreme audit institutions worldwide. To facilitate public accountability on the broader African continent, the Auditor-General served as President of the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI) from 2008 until 2011. We were host to the 20th International Congress of Supreme Audit Institutions in 2010, where the reins of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) were handed to the Auditor-General of South Africa as its President for a three year term. These platforms have enabled us to impart knowledge on public sector auditing to enhance public accountability as we uphold the democracy of our country.
Given the professional nature of the audit office, the AGSA is an active participant in the international organisations that are linked to the auditing and accounting profession. Efforts are mainly channelled through the various committees and working groups of INTOSAI which is a collective forum for 189 SAIs from all corners of the globe. INTOSAI is a knowledge-sharing platform that enables us to contribute meaningfully on the African continent and abroad whilst at the same time learning from colleagues to address domestic challenges and opportunities.
Together with INTOSAI, the AGSA has made a substantial investment in the development of public sector-specific application guidance in the form of the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs). This ensures that our audit methodology deals with the very specific requirements of the public sector, both domestically and internationally.