Internal audit

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INTERNAL AUDIT – it is an independent and objective activity, the aim of which is to add value and improve the operational activity of the organisation. It is based on a systematic and organised assessment of processes: risk management, control and organisational order – it contributes to improving their performance. It helps the organisation achieve its objectives by providing information/assurance on the effectiveness of these processes, as well as through consulting (it is also used in the private sector). Services providing i.a. include an objective assessment of evidence, carried out by internal auditors to provide opinions or conclusions about an entity, operations, functions, process, system or other issues. Consulting services, due to their nature, are usually carried out in response to the specific needs of the client. While providing consultancy services, the internal auditor is obliged to maintain objectivity and not take over management duties. I.a. may be implemented by an auditor/auditors employed in the organisation or by a service provider contracted from outside the public institution. In both cases the main recipient of the auditor remains the head of the unit (e.g., a minister, a president of the executive agency, village mayor, mayor, president of the city). I.a. in Poland is obligatory in units of the public finance sector. I.a. in the public sector takes into account the specificity of this sector, i.e. the importance of political forces, including non-profit activities, and the fact that the most important goal is to provide public services. Today, auditors focus not only on the study of compliance with regulations, but more and more often on the effectiveness and efficiency of the implementation of the tasks. Public sector’s activity is primarily evaluated by its ability to effectively deliver services and execute programmes in the right way, i.a. should therefore have appropriate competence to assess financially as well as from the point of view of compliance, efficiency, economy and effectiveness of the activity. According to the Constitutional Tribunal’s verdict of 2015, audit reports are public information. However, in practice there are significant difficulties in accessing them (offices defend themselves against making them available, by arguing for the protection of personal data); case law and pragmatics in this area are just beginning to shape. The basic document for i.a. in the public sector in Poland is the “International standards for the professional practice of internal auditing” whose systematically updated content is announced in official communications of the minister competent for public finances (→ audit) [ Ł. Małecki-Tepicht ].

Literature: Definicja audytu wewnętrznego, Kodeks etyki oraz Międzynarodowe standardy praktyki zawodowej audytu wewnętrznego [Definition of internal auditing, the Code of Ethics and International standards for the professional practice of internal auditing], The Institute of Internal Auditors, Altamonte Springs 2016, Polish translation: Instytut Audytorów Wewnętrznych IIA Polska, Warszawa 2016, [online] [access: September 2017] ■ Rola audytu w zarządzaniu sektorem publicznym [The role of audit in managing the public sector], Instytut Audytorów Wewnętrznych – IIA 2012, [online] [access: September 2017].