Sarajevo, 17 April 2020
The Audit Office of the Institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SAI) has organized its work to continue the activities in accordance with the Law on Audit of the Institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the current emergency situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with measures taken by relevant government authorities, most of the SAI's staff work from home using electronic communication channels. In this way, both financial and performance audits are being carried out, which, at this moment, proceed as planned. Meetings of audit teams, board members as well as meetings with auditees are taking place on a daily basis through audio and video communication systems.
Financial audits are currently in their final audit stage. A number of draft financial audit reports has already been delivered to auditees, in accordance with Article 15 of the Audit Law, electronically. A follow-up performance audit report will be published by the end of the month. Additional four performance audits are being implemented in accordance with the 2020 Work Program.
In our efforts to ensure, in these extraordinary circumstances, that the mandate of the SAI is fulfilled in accordance with the Law, our priority is to safeguard the health of our staff, the health of their families, as well as the health of the staff of the institutions subject to our audits. Therefore, the SAI has adapted its audit approaches to the current emergency situation to allow for auditees to minimize exposure and for audit activities not to stand on the way to those activities that are critical in dealing with the crisis. However, professional standards require the auditor to gather sufficient appropriate evidence to provide an appropriate level of assurance that will form the basis for expressing audit opinions and conclusions. This usually requires a direct insight into audit documentation, which, in current circumstances, cannot be done in all cases. The above certainly poses a challenge that we will, in the coming period, try to overcome with the support of our auditees. In spite of difficult circumstances in which the institutions currently operate, the SAI will seek to complete all audit reports within the statutory deadlines and submit them to the Parliament and other entities in accordance with the Law, and to inform the public on the use of public resources in 2019.
Exceptional business circumstances do not preclude accountability. Transparency and accountability are crucial - especially at times when decisions are made in extraordinary and urgency arrangements. It is therefore our duty to call on all public sector entities to base their decisions on the principles of accountability, sound financial management and the rule of law. The SAI, within its statutory authorities, stands ready and continues to support all the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in these efforts.