Accounting for taxpayers? money is a global effort


According to the recent ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
report, public audit performsa crucial role in both preventing ongoing waste of
taxpayer money and boosting society?s trust and confidence about how
governments spend public money - breaking out: public audit?s new role in a
post-crash world.

Consequences of 2008 financial crisis continue to gravely impact the globe but
the crisis has spurred renewed thought among Public Auditors. In several
countries, public sector finance is undergoing harsh adjustments particularly in
spending and reductions in social support.

Audit has to move forward, to test its efficiency and effective in how money is
raised, as well as how it is spent. Implementation of major projects, particularly
in IT and defence, is typically disastrous. Both result in the waste of millions, if
not billions, of pounds of taxpayers? money - Margaret Hodge, Chairperson of
Public Accounts Committee

The new ACCA report offers a collection of upbeat reflections regarding the
public auditor?s role in delivering accountability and improving public services.
The report gathered views from academics, policy advisers and public auditor
generals from Australia to Jamaica, Scotland and Bhutan. The authors of the
report also discussissues such as improving public engagement and
strengthening scrutiny and public service effectiveness. A number of proposals
are made regarding closer liaisons with all those concerned with scrutiny and
public service.

Gillian Fawcett, head of Public Sector at ACCA, says: "They say there is a
need for a public audit to improve public awareness engagement, strengthen
scrutiny and public service effectiveness. Auditors must penetrate beyond. The
private sector is now heavily involved in delivering public service in the United
Kingdom, but its accountability is sub-standard. If we want to better manage
service failure risks and boost public trust then accountability and transparency
need strengthening.'

The general mood amongst finance professionals is quite positive. Auditors
are eager to assume a new responsibility - Karen Smal, Acting Head of ACCA
South Africa.

Gillian Fawcett says: "Auditors must intervene earlier in the processes by
which money is allocated to departments. A strong argument has been that it is
only by doing this that problems can be nipped in the bud. Providing assurance
in the early stage of a project can limit the administrative failures, preventing
them from spiralling into significant value for money failures.'