The International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) highlighted the relevance of information technology and (big) data analytics for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) during their congress in 2019 as well as in other fora. SAIs, like other public organisations, need to have sufficient IT resources in order to function. This entails digitally supported and, wherever possible, automated administration and audit processes. Moreover, SAIs need to keep up with technological developments to provide meaningful recommendations to auditees.
The COVID-19 pandemic has focussed attention on the use of information technology by SAIs in the fulfilment of their mandate. SAIs in partner countries had to organise remote work and adapt their audit plans to the pandemic situation to ensure business continuity, putting existing challenges, such as gaps in hardware and software or a lack of remote access to auditee data, into sharp relief.
Data analytics and a clear understanding of how technological developments impact auditees, as well as audit work, are key for SAIs to remain relevant. They need to be equipped with systems, hardware, and software, such as data analytics software, and must have processes and qualified staff in place to achieve their goals. Processing huge amounts of data can allow auditors to audit a complete set of transactions rather than just a sample, or facilitate the detection of patterns or outliers. SAIs also have to compete for staff with the necessary skill set. Thus, to overcome these challenges, the very first step is that SAIs and development partners willing to support them must understand how mature they are with regards to IT. Only with adequate information can an action plan and measures be developed to improve the SAI’s situation.
The Supreme Audit Institution Information Technology Maturity Assessment (SAI ITMA) is the result of a reflection and co-creation process initiated by the German development cooperation.To provide orientation to the German development cooperation and other development partners for IT support projects, a stock-taking exercise of existing approaches was conducted to inform a checklist for practitioners. This resulted in a more comprehensive Excel-based assessment tool that assesses the IT maturity of SAIs in the five pillars, i.e., institutional requirements, inputs, processes, products, and quality and optimisation.
The first draft was shared with stakeholders for feedback and then tested and piloted under the leadership of the Taskforce on Geotechnology of the Capacity Building Committee of the Latin American and Caribbean Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS). Based on virtual pilots in Colombia, Chile, and Guatemala during the pandemic, a revised version including geotechnology was developed that was then also shared with the African Organisation of English-speaking Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI-E) and piloted in Malawi and Mozambique. The tool and accompanying documents are now available in English and Spanish for interested stakeholders. Please contact email@example.com for the latest version.