Openly about the issues of internal auditors

The internal audit system still suffers from a lack of personnel, frequent misunderstanding of this institute by public sector managers, as well as insufficient coverage of the public sector by internal audit. These are some of the issues raised at the meeting with internal auditors in the public sector, which we organised on October 27th in Podgorica. 

Internal auditors from state administration bodies, local self-governments, and public enterprises attended the meeting, along with representatives from the Ministry of Finance (unit for central harmonisation). The goal was to continue the collaboration between civil society and internal auditors, which the IA previously initiated through research on the functioning of internal control systems (PIFC) and a conference of a similar format in 2015.

We discussed the challenges that auditors face in their work, the historical development of the internal audit system in the public sector, collaboration with other state bodies responsible for controlling public finances, as well as the new Law on Management and Internal Controls in the Public Sector that is under preparation.

The discussions also involved the transparency of the results of internal audit work, the lack of connection with the Parliament of Montenegro, as well as the effectiveness of newly formed units for internal audit of IPA funds and IT systems.

Among other things, auditors emphasised that they encounter a lack of staffing capacity in their work, frequent misunderstandings by managers, and a failure to recognise the importance of the internal audit as a mechanism. The focus was also on the work of internal auditors in the field of public procurement, the most commonly identified deficiencies, and lessons learned.

The meeting addressed the novelties of the Law on Public Procurement and the research we conducted on simple procurements up to 5,000 euros for the year 2022, the findings of which will soon be presented to the public.

IA will summarise the meeting’s conclusions in “Ten Lessons Learned from Internal Auditors“, aiming to highlight the significance of this system that has been unjustifiably neglected.

The meeting is part of the project “Procurement under the spotlight – making watchdogs work!“ which is implemented with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Serbia and Montenegro through the MATRA support program. The project aims to empower and motivate watchdogs to fight against corruption and undue influences in public procurement.

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