Professional internal auditing in the public sector

Du Toit, Hendrik Jacobus (1998-03)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 1998.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this study the assumption is made that the delivery of a professional internal audit service has a direct bearing on the improvement of effectiveness of services delivered. Internal auditing in the public sector, compared to the private sector, is still at an early stage of development. A change in emphasis brought about by the new Constitution has led to a demand for stronger accountability and transparency. The internal audit profession has an important role to play by assisting management in the effective, efficient and economic reaching of goals and objectives. To fulfil this role successfully it is necessary for the internal auditor to possess specific skills and knowledge to perform audit tasks unique to the public sector. The hypothesis as formulated emphasises the relationship between professional internal auditing and organisational effectiveness. Through the content of this study project it is endeavoured to prove this point. An investigation into the field of internal auditing was undertaken by means of a study of the available literature, including the Standards for Professional Practice of Internal Auditing. Opinions and information were obtained from management and other persons involved with auditing by means of a questionnaire. The opinions and information were. integrated to obtain a comprehensive picture. A study of the literature revealed that internal auditing is supported by four pillars, namely: - Achieving objectives - Safeguarding and using of assets - Economic, effective and efficient execution of functions - Compliance with policy, prescripts and regulations. The literature also describes a definite process followed during an audit. During the audit process risk factors must be taken into account. Technical aspects relating to internal auditing is covered in the literature, but references to examples in the public sector are lacking. This deficiency was identified during the field study by means of a questionnaire. Respondents indicated in questionnaires that effectiveness of management, financial information and compliance with controls must be subjected to internal auditing. Management views the internal audit as a source of information on the activities of every department. The recommendations for professional internal auditing in the public sector are aimed at promoting accountability and transparency in the organisation. To ensure effective internal auditing it is necessary for the internal auditor to take note of the environment in which the organisation's activities play a role. A study of public administration as a management science is therefore important for the internal auditor to obtain insight into a holistic approach regarding the activities of public sector organisations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie studie word as uitgangspunt die aanname gemaak dat daar 'n verband bestaan tussen die lewering van 'n professionele diens deur die interne ouditeur en die effektiwiteit van dienste wat aan interne ouditering onderwerp word. Interne ouditering in die openbare sektor in vergelyking met die privaatsektor, is nog in 'n begin stadium van ontwikkeling. 'n Klemverskuiwing wat teweeggebring is deur die nuwe Grondwet het daartoe gelei dat groter rekenpligtigheid en deursigtigheid vereis word. Die interne oudit beroep het 'n belangrike rol te speel deur bestuur by te staan in die effektiewe, doelmatige en ekonomiese bereiking van doelwitte. am hierdie rol suksesvol te vervul is dit nodig dat die interne ouditeur oor bepaalde vaardighede en kennis sal beskik om oudittake uniek aan die openbare sektor professioneel uit te voer. Die hipotese soos geformuleer beklemtoon die verband tussen professionele interne ouditering en organisatoriese effektiwiteit. Met die inhoud van die werkstuk word daar gepoog om die punt te bewys. 'n Ondersoek na die gebied van interne ouditering is onderneem deur 'n studie te maak van beskikbare Iiteratuur, insluitend die Standaarde vir Professionele Praktykvoering van Interne Ouditering. Deur middel van 'n vraelys is menings en inligting van bestuur en persone betrokke by ouditering verkry. Die menings en inligting is saamgevoeg om 'n geheelbeeld te verkry. 'n Studie van die Iiteratuur toon dat interne oudit deur vier pilare ondersteun word naamlik: - Bereiking van doelwitte - Beveiliging en aanwending van bates - Ekonomiese, effektiewe en doelgerigte uitvoering van funksies - Nakoming van beleid, voorskrifte en regulasies. Die Iiteratuur beskryf 'n bepaalde proses wat gevolg word tydens ouditering. Gedurende die ouditproses moet risikofaktore in ag geneem word. Tegniese aspekte verbonde aan interne ouditering word gedek, maar verwysings na voorbeelde uit die openbare sektor ontbreek grootliks in die Iiteratuur, vandaar die noodsaaklikehid vir 'n veld studie wat deur middel van 'n vraelys gedoen is. Respondente het in die vraelyste aangedui dat effektiwiteit van bestuur, finansiele inligting en die nakoming van kontroles aan interne ouditering onderwerp moet word. Bestuur beskou die interne ouditeur as 'n bron van inligting oor die aktiwiteite van elke departement. Die aanbevelings vir professionele interne ouditering in die open bare sektor is daarop gemik om rekenpligtigheid en deursigtigheid van 'n organisasie te bevorder. Om effektiewe interne ouditering te verseker is dit noodsaaklik dat die interne ouditeur ook kennis dra van die omgewing waarin die organisasie se aktiwiteite 'n rol speel. 'n Studie van Publieke Administrasie as 'n bestuurswetenskap sal dus vir die interne ouditeur van belang wees om insig te verkry in 'n holistiese benadering tot aktiwiteite van openbare sektor-organisasies.

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