In order to meet the evolving development in public governance and fund management where the success of any government plan, program or activity needs an effective auditing that ensures that fiscal responsibility is properly discharged by heads of government agencies, COA must issue timely, relevant and well-prepared reports consistent with the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs) if it is to sustain its effectiveness as an enabling partner to the nation’s progress and growth.
Indeed, this COA’s mandate and responsibility to issue timely and quality audit reports and management letters to the audited agencies, copy furnished the top hierarchies of the government reaching up to the Office of the President, the Senate, the House of Representatives and Heads of the Executive Departments, among others, is a daunting task that needs to be simplified and easy to perform. It is from this light that COA XI methodically strategized for innovations to facilitate and expedite the preparation, submission, review and release of the yearly audit reports and management letters utilizing the convenience of information technology.
Likewise, consistent with the standards prescribed by the organizations of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) where COA is a member of good standing in that the audit is to be done applying the principles of the the Integrated Results and Risk-Based Audit (IRRBA) as audit methodology, COA XI’s focus on innovating the traditional procedures of preparing and reviewing audit reports and management letters extended to the preparation and review also of working papers and templates prescribed by the IRRBA guidelines.
COA RO XI under the headship of Atty. Roy L. Ursal, Regional Director (RD), has instituted the paperless submission and automated/electronic review of the AAR/RCML/ML/SAOR before these reports are eventually released to the audited agencies and posted in the COA website. These paperless submission and automated/electronic review include the review and the submission of IRRBA Working Papers and Templates being prepared by the Auditors assigned in the National, Local and Corporate agencies in the region.
The Automated Review Committee for AAR/RCML
For three consecutive years, AARs/RCMLs covering the periods 2017, 2018, and 2019 were thoroughly and meticulously reviewed using automated review on the Statement of Financial Position, the Statement of Financial Performance, the Statement of Changes in Net Assets/Equity, the Statement of Cash Flows, the Statement of Comparison of Budget and Actual Amounts and the Notes to the Financial Statements, including the summary of significant accounting policies, and the Independent Auditor’s Report.
This automated review in the form of MS Excel application which employs formulae focusing on the financial aspects of the AARs/RCMLS was a brainchild of RD Ursal as he strategically established under the Office of the Regional Director a Review Committee headed by Supervising Auditor Alfredo G. Largo and supported by Audit Team Members who were mostly external auditors before they were hired by COA and are highly recommended by the Supervising/Regional Supervising Auditors of the National, Local and Corporate Audit Groups. Members of the Review Committee with the ranks of mostly SAE II to SA II are not permanent as they are replaced every year to train and enable as many auditors as possible to be conversant with the review work. This yearly change in the composition of the Review Committee was made possible because COA XI was blessed with a large pool of highly skilled and very competent auditors.
Office Orders CYs 2018, 2019 and 2020 of the AAR/RCML Review Committee:
Meanwhile, the initial reviews of the reports prior to their submission to the Review Committee are also done electronically by the Regional Supervising Auditors and Supervising Auditors of the National, Local and Corporate Audit Groups.
The flow of paperless submission and electronic review of AAR/RCML/ ML/SAOR
In the same vein, RD Ursal, known for his aptitude as a leader who optimizes talents in COA RO XI, has espoused the invaluable input of Regional Supervising Auditor Rita Angelyn T. Torino on the paperless and electronic submission and review of the AAR/RCML/ML/SAOR, thereby expediting the posting of these reports in the COA Website.
The true measure of success in COA XI’s institutionalized paperless submission and electronic review of reports by RD Ursal can be attested in the 100% posting of these reports at COA Website as of May 15, 2020, an accomplishment where COA XI showed up to deliver high quality, fair and timely audit reports that defied the odds posed by the lockdowns brought about by community quarantines in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The success story of RD Ursal’s paperless/electronic submission and review of reports can be simplified in this illustration:
The paperless submission and electronic review of the Integrated Results and Risk-Based Audit (IRRBA)
For three consecutive years, the not so easy IRRBA Working Papers and Templates for the National, Local and Corporate agencies covering the periods 2017, 2018 and 2019, were submitted and reviewed thru electronic means. Again RD Ursal has a keen eye in scouting every talent in COA RO XI and created an IRRBA Review Committee (IRC) under the Office of the Regional Director. Members of the IRC are also not permanent as they are replaced every year to give chance to others as the knowledge of every auditor must be sustained and fortified. This IRRBA Review Committee is primarily tasked to assist the audit teams in the keeping of working papers and templates both in the proper form and content as prescribed by the IRRBA guidelines which are to be filed by the audit teams in support of their findings in their audit reports or management letters.
Office Orders CYs 2018, 2019 and 2020 of the IRRBA Review Committee:
As a strategy, early on, the Review Committee went to the Provinces to personally coach the auditors in the field on how to efficiently and effectively connect the dots and the nuances of IRRBA templates. After all this, RD Ursal has successfully institutionalized the submission and review of IRRBA templates as they are currently done paperless and electronically.
As the audit teams begin the audit for the ensuing year, they can rest in the comfort and relax in the assurance that they accomplished all that were expected of them to do not only in the timely preparation of quality audit reports that focused on the audit thrusts identified by the audit sectors and performed in conformity with the applicable ISSAI standards but also the keeping of thoroughly reviewed working papers consistent with the IRRBA methodologies.
Auditors of COA RO XI are elated by these developments. The burden of preparation, submission and review of these year-end reports are now being lightened. Gone are the days of mediocre performances. All efforts are directed towards creating positive impact and empowering auditors through the initiative and leadership of RD Ursal.