COA moves towards digital transformation of state audit

April 30, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 215 views

THE Commission on Audit (COA) has moved towards digital transformation of its audit approaches, techniques and processes during the next seven years under the term of Chairperson Gamaliel A. Cordoba.

Around 140 senior COA officials led by Chairperson Cordoba and Commissioners Roland C. Pondoc and Mario G. Lipana formulated the Commission’s strategic directives at a planning conference conducted from 24 to 27 April 2023.

Cordoba shared his ten-point agenda towards the digital transformation of state audit.

These strategic thrusts focus on developing an easy to implement and technology driven government accounting system compliant with international standards; introducing e-audit as the manner of conducting audit through digitizing government transactions including collections in partnership with all government agencies; and leveraging technology to improve audit techniques and procedures including the development of an automated audit system for e-collections and e-payments and use of artificial intelligence to crunch big data to determine patterns and detect fraud.

These strategic thrusts are in line with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s call to embrace digitalization and adopt technological innovations to make the country more competitive.

Also included in the Chairperson’s ten point agenda are aligning existing rules and regulations with the changing times and conditions, prescribing new rules to cover gaps and emerging issues and updating audit guidelines for e-payment to cover contracts entered into with social media platforms; capacitating and training both the auditors and agency personnel involved in financial transactions on the updated accounting and auditing rules and regulations; filling-up around 5,000 plus vacant positions in the Commission; adopting a merit-based succession planning program; adopting a pro-active system to address backlog in the disposition of appealed cases brought about by the pandemic; developing guidelines for the audit of PPP projects and public utilities and train personnel for the conduct of such audit; and enhancing the communication line with the auditees and bodies with oversight over COA audit reports, especially Congress.

“COA has long held the respect of the public and government agencies as an institution that zealously safeguards the nation’s coffers. Here and abroad, you are known for your exemplary performance of duties and responsibilities with excellence, skill and integrity. I hope to lead you to build capacities and capabilities to audit areas that have not previously been emphasized or highlighted such as the audit of PPP projects. Moreover, we are now moving into modernizing audit through leveraging technology. I hope that we will be able to take a step further, enabling a technology driven government accounting system, digitizing government transactions in partnership with all government agencies and paving the way for e-audit as the manner of conducting audit,” Chairperson Cordoba said.

For his part, Commissioner Pondoc emphasized the importance of nurturing future leaders of the Commission, encouraging COA officials to “wholeheartedly embrace our roles as leaders of the organization and recognize the growth, direction and future of this institution highly depends on all of us and on our development of potential leaders within the organization.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner Lipana said COA’s strength as an institution is “a result of the active development of our strategies to address the increasingly complex and advanced needs of our international partners, the government, and the Filipino people pertaining to public accountability that state audit mechanisms provide” and expressed confidence that the inputs in the strategic planning conference will become the “foundation that will guide COA to be among the top performing Supreme Audit Institutions.”

The Commission’s strategic roadmap will center on five strategic goals: improve the quality and timeliness of audits, improve government Accountancy services, enhance the discharge of adjudicatory and investigatory functions, strengthen support to operations, and improve general administration and support services.