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Employ digitalisation to address weaknesses in financial management - Dr Bawumia advises auditors

BY: Chris Nunoo & Emelia Ennin Abbey
Vice-President Dr Bawumia (middle) interacting with Dr James Klutse Avedzi (right), Chairman, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. With them is Harriet Karikari (left), President, IAA, Ghana. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
Vice-President Dr Bawumia (middle) interacting with Dr James Klutse Avedzi (right), Chairman, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. With them is Harriet Karikari (left), President, IAA, Ghana. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has urged internal auditors to take advantage of the digitalisation agenda of the government to identify risks and weaknesses in the public financial management system.

That, he said, would equip them to provide timely advice and recommendations to prevent corrupt practices.

The Vice-President, who was addressing this year’s internal audit and governance conference in Accra yesterday, said it was critical for those responsible for governance to embrace digitalisation for development.

“As internal auditors in a digitalised economy, your ability to provide independent assurance that public sector institutions’ risk management, governance and internal control processes are operating effectively depends, first and foremost, on you embracing and adopting digital technology.

“We need, for example, the IIA Ghana to provide us with seasoned professionals who can head these IT governance regimes in our public institutions and support institutional capacity building to enable us to deliver on our stated objectives,” he added.


Event

The IIA Ghana is an international professional association which was registered in April 2001. It has the Institute of International Auditors (IIA) as its mother body, with its headquarters in Florida, USA.

The two-day conference, on the theme: “Elevating impact in a digitalised economy”, is the first in-person meeting since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions on public gatherings.

Dr Bawumia said the internal audit profession had evolved over the years, with techniques of internal auditing changing from a reactive and control-based form to a more proactive and risk-based approach.

That, he said, enabled internal auditors to anticipate risks and opportunities and provide assurance, advice and insights when needed.

On corruption, he said: “The fight against corruption in our contemporary age and time cannot be won by adopting the old-aged tactics of firefighting.”

Rather, he said, “we should be seen to be doing more prevention than curing. This requires us, as a nation, to build strong watchdog institutions, without which impunity becomes the very foundation on which systems of corruption are built”.

Commendation

The Chairman of the African Federation of Institute of Internal Auditors, Emmanuel Johannes, commended the government for working with the IIA to ensure that the association became one of the best in Africa.

He said with proper legislation in place, obstacles to the practice of internal auditing would be removed to ensure accountability and the effective use of resources.

The Auditor-General, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, in a speech read on his behalf by the Assistant Auditor-General, Agyin Evans Kobina, said auditors complemented one another, since they all worked to ensure that public resources were protected.

He said digitalisation had emerged as a key driver for the improvement of service delivery and stimulation of growth, job creation, improved productivity across sectors, reduction in corruption, among others.

For her part, the President of IIA, Ghana, Harriet Akua Karikari, said institutions must continue to adapt to digitalisation and technology solutions in their operations.

According to her, internal auditors were required to adopt proactive and action-oriented approaches to identify emerging risks and assist their respective entities to address such risks.