Professionalism is a process that is borne out of focus, commitment, dedication, ongoing studies and professional growth. Professionalism at its best, define the level to which all auditors should aspire, the degree of respect to which auditors can bring to the ethical operations of an organization.
Since performance auditing has become global auditing over the past thirty years mainly in the public sector to provide assurance to the Public and Parliaments on Economy, Efficiency and Effectiveness (3E), performance auditors need to become professionals to have a greater understanding of the objective, legislative requirements, audit processes and procedures that can help them manage the relationship between the audited entity and audit teams, prior to, during and after the audits, to achieve good outcomes from both auditor and client.
In this regard, there is need for capacity building which should be a continuous process so that staff will be updated about recent developments in PA and in-house training for performance auditors should also be provided on a regular basis to enhance their skills and competencies. It is on that note that the management of Audit Service Sierra Leone realised the need for continuous capacity building of performance auditors. As a result, in February, it approached AFROSAI-E for a capacity building programme for 45 staff of performance and financial auditors. On acceptance of the proposal, a team of AFORSAI-E performance auditors arrived in Freetown and organized a four days programme with the main objectives of refreshing the skills of performance auditors and empowering financial auditors on performance related issues.
The main facilitators were Manako Ramonate from SAI Lesotho and Bonface Muckwenga from SAI Zimbabwe and Goretti Ingabire, the World Bank Consultant from Rwanda.
With those enhanced skills, it was expected that financial auditors would be able to know the difference between performance and financial auditing and at the same identify performance related issues during the conduct of financial auditing.
The exercise was beneficial to staff as there was increased willingness in participation and contributions and moreover, at the end of the training session, testimonies were positive on the knowledge gained and the perception of performance auditing.
The ultimate gain for management was the ease of staff rotation considering the fact that most of the staff had acquired knowledge in both financial and performance auditing.
The areas of focus during the course were as follows:
- Role of performance audit.
- Audit design – Scope of audit, audit objective, audit questions, assessment criteria and professional judgment.
- Audit Risk -materiality and administrative risks including documentation.
- 3Es -Economy, Efficiency, Effectiveness.
- Data collection and analysis – quantitative and qualitative.
- Writing the audit report.
- Issuing and distributing reports.
- Follow up on performance audit reports.
- Audit documentation and working papers.