Strategic choices

The State Audit Office Act asserts that the State Audit Office must not be appointed mandatory duties in auditing. The State Audit Office is independent in its decision on the conduct of audits as well as the time and manner thereof. Auditing is carried out on the basis of a work schedule approved by the Auditor General. In preparing the annual auditing schedule, the State Audit Office shall be guided by the strategy elaborated thereby and by its obligation to provide the Parliament with an annual review of the use and preservation of state funds during the previous financial year. Where necessary, the proposals of the members of the Riigikogu, ministers and the public are taken into account upon preparation of the schedule.

From the beginning of the year 2000, the State Audit Office offers three types of auditing services provided by three departments, and accordingly draws up the annual auditing schedule. The choice and extent of the financial audits included in the plan are mainly determined by the obligation of the Office to provide an overview of the use and preservation of state assets, which is provided by the State Budget Act and the State Audit Office Act in the form of the consolidated annual report of the state. In deciding which audits of operational risk and performance risk will be performed, areas with obvious shortcomings are selected from which general conclusions can be drawn for the public sector.

Planned audits proposed for inclusion in the work schedule are assessed on the basis of the criteria for choice provided by the strategy, including the following:

  • the volume of state funds and assets involved;
  • the number of persons affected;
  • relevance to the tasks and priorities of the Riigikogu;
  • interest shown by the Riigikogu, the general public and the person to be audited;
  • possibility to conduct the audit using the State Audit Office funds and the existing know-how.

The State Audit Office has also determined circumstances under which an audit is not included in the work schedule, including the following:

  • no person interested in the evaluation/information created in the process of the audit exists;
  • a similar audit/examination which is reliable and suitable in scope has been carried out recently;
  • the process to be audited is in rapid development due to which the results of the audit may be outdated even before they are published.

Target audits are not included in the work schedule as such audits are undertaken to examine various problems as soon as possible after their emergence. The objective of such audits is to quickly provide an expert opinion of the situation and communicate the problem in order to avoid similar occurrences in the future.

As prescribed by the State Audit Office Act and international practices which constitute the basis for such an Act, the State Audit Office is required to inform Ministers of the approved work schedule. The State Audit Office also provides, prior to auditing as well as during an audit, an audited person with detailed information on the auditors participating in the audit, the timetable for auditing as well as the objective and the methods for the audit.

The results of an audit are not immediately recorded in the final report but are at first presented for examination to the audited person. After necessary amendments have been made to the report, the written opinion of the Minister responsible for the area is obtained together with a plan for implementation of the proposals of the State Audit Office. The final audit report is then published together with the Minister’s response.

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