International conference on the modern state audit to celebrate the 100th anniversary of NIK

In 2019, the Supreme Audit Office of Poland (NIK) is celebrating a centenary of its establishment. At the international conference “The Role and Challenges of the State Audit in the Modern World”, organised on this occasion, President of NIK Krzysztof Kwiatkowski hosted partners representing INTOSAI, EUROSAI and the European Court of Auditors. They shared their views on current and future goals of state auditing. Celebrations related to the anniversary will continue during the meeting of the Contact Committee of the European Union’s SAIs in June.

In his opening speech, President Krzysztof Kwiatkowski referred to the origins of the Supreme Audit Office of Poland, established upon the Decree of the Head of State Józef Piłsudski on 7 February 1919. He also recalled the independence of state auditing by quoting the Lima Declaration: ”Supreme Audit Institutions can accomplish their tasks objectively and effectively only if they are independent of the audited entity and are protected against outside influence […]. The establishment of Supreme Audit Institutions and the necessary degree of their independence shall be laid down in the Constitution”.

Independence of SAIs was one of the main conference topics, and so were their transparency, reliability and political neutrality. The speakers focused on good relations with the public opinion, parliaments and the media, emphasising the need for an open dialog and strengthened cooperation between SAIs.

The participants also discussed possible means to improve the functioning of audit institutions in the face of modern world challenges. They agreed that SAIs should be sensitive to the citizens’ needs and problems. President of the European Court of Auditors Klaus-Heiner Lehne said: ”State auditing in the modern world is much more than ensuring budget spending follow the rules. I think it is at least equally important that tax money spent delivers value-for-money for citizens. That is why we decided to devote more of our time and resources to performance audits. We check whether EU policies are effective […]. Every euro spent must have an added value”.

The speakers stressed that SAIs should invest in modern technologies, data analysis methods and other means to enhance the audit process. INTOSAI Chair and President of the State Audit Institution of the United Arab Emirates Harib Saeed Al Amimi concluded that auditors should be innovative and open to new tools and solutions. EUROSAI Chair and President of the Turkish Court of Accounts Seyit Ahmet Baş shared the experience of his SAI aimed to improve the audit process. ”Public entities are assessed and analysed with respect to three main areas, namely internal control, financial management and performance management”, he said. ”We prepare a consolidated monitoring report on the measures taken by institutions with respect to the recommendations and make it public”. Eugene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, who did not attend the meeting in person, but sent his video address, referred to omnipresent technological developments, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, machine learning and quantum computing that auditors must get acquainted with, and be ready to apply them in the audit process.

When commenting on the addresses of the other speakers, President Kwiatkowski referred to advantages of bilateral cooperation, emphasising that NIK’s relations with the SAI of Czech Republic, represented at the conference by its President and EUROSAI Vice-Chair Miloslav Kala, calling it true partnership. Summarising the speech of Valeriy Patskan, Chairman of the Ukrainian Accounting Chamber, Krzysztof Kwiatkowski stressed the importance of constant efforts to improve internal organisation of SAIs, so that they can competently advise other institutions.

Krzysztof Kwiatkowski also thanked the NIK employees – dedicated experts, contributing to NIK’s achievements with their knowledge and experience. He referred to the audit of the activity of the Polish National Election Office that revealed serious errors in the IT system used to count electoral votes. ”I am really satisfied that the system is being improved because of our audit results”, he concluded.

At the end of the conference, President Kwiatkowski thanked his guests: ”We are honoured by your presence and inspired by your words. I am convinced that we will often recall your statements, views and opinions in the future, and that we will use them in our everyday work”.

The Heads of European Union’s SAI will celebrate the NIK’s centenary on the occasion of the Contact Committee meeting in Warsaw next June. Then, the participants will pay tribute to the founders of the independent and modern state auditing developed in Poland since regaining independence.



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