The Commission on Audit through the COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo was invited by the Comptroller General of the Republic of Peru to participate in a Self-Instructional Course: “Guidelines for Conducting Cooperative Audits” facilitated by the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) Peru as the chair of the INTOSAI’s subcommittee on cooperative audits. The online course was available for the period March 1 to April 3, 2021 and was participated by eight COA Auditors together with the professionals of other SAIs.

The online self-study course aimed to guide and instruct the Auditors of the SAIs in the practice of cooperative audits, as set out in INTOSAI Guidances (GUID) 9000. The course comprises four learning units that address the key issues related to cooperative audits conducted between two or more SAIs, from general aspects prior to the initiation of the audit, the beginning of the audit, the work sequence and the post-audit evaluation and cooperation. After each learning unit, an assessment was made for the continuous and effective evaluation of each participants.

Cooperative audits aimed to provide SAIs with a tool for preparing, implementing and following up on bilateral and multilateral audits which can be divided into three types: parallel/concurrent, coordinated and joint audits.

Parallel/Concurrent Audit Mission: A decision is taken to carry out similar audits. Methodology and audit approach could be shared. The audit is conducted more or less simultaneously by two or more autonomous auditing bodies, but with a separate audit team from each body, usually reporting only to its own governing body and only on matters within its own mandate.

Coordinated Audit Mission: A coordinated audit is either a joint audit with separate audit reports to the supreme audit institutions own governing bodies or a parallel audit with a single audit report in addition to the separate national reports.

Joint Audit Mission: Key decisions are shared. The audit is conducted by one audit team composed of auditors from two or more autonomous auditing bodies who usually prepare a single joint audit report for presentation to each respective governing body.

The benefit of conducting cooperative audits includes the sharing of information and lessons learnt among SAIs. It provides a new perspective on the actions of one’s own government in comparison to other governments. Taking for example, conduct of cooperative audit on the effectiveness and efficiency of  the pandemic response on COVID-19. International cooperation can help highlight the best practices on handling a pandemic response of the various countries which can become the accepted objective and rule for all countries. Global interdependence and harmonization calls for a necessary cooperation among public stakeholders including SAIs in the present time. Thus, conduct of cooperative audit between SAIs has a major role for the continuous development of public-sector auditing to keep abreast of the rapid changes of the world.

Contributed by Peter Lorenz S. Salmon, State Auditor I, Region VI, participant on the Self-Instructional Course: “Guidelines for Conducting Cooperative Audits”.