EUROSAI. Magazine N26 - 2021

EUROSAI 88 Studies and other articles In the current challenging situation caused by COVID-19 pandemic, the State Audit Office of Hungary (SAO) has recognized that a significant part of the potential auditees is involved in the defence against the pandemic, but the situation assessment also made it clear that people need more than ever to be able to turn to individual organizations and institutions with confidence. Adapting to the changed conditions, the SAO also continued its audits and activities in the epidemiological situation: it expanded its advisory and analytical role arising from its authorisation in law and the resolution of the National Assembly, and also carries out a significant part of its audits more efficiently and effectively in order to be able to reach auditees as broadly as possible, at the same time minimising the burdens on them during the audit. In response to the challenges, the SAO developed a number of methodological changes, as part of which the role of digitalisation became even more important, and new audit approaches were introduced. The new approaches are based on the opportunities provided by digitalisation tools, evaluating only the most basic and small number of documents of highrisk areas. As a result of the audit, the auditee can restore its regular operation even in the year of the audit. Thus, with the new approaches including monitoring type and risk-based audits, the SAO simultaneously assesses the essential areas of responsible management, accountability and transparency in case of several audited organizations. All this contributes to the increase in the number of audited organizations, to the general improvement of the public finance situation as well as the accountability as soon as possible. Audit approaches Audit approaches can be interpreted as tools ensuring that the audit objectives aremet. The audit approaches show the level of the details and the assurance of the audit, which is determined by the validity of the evidence, the extent to which we validated and used them during the audit, and the level of our assurance of regular and/or efficient operation. Audit approaches can be interpreted as tools ensuring that the audit objectives are met The level of audit assurance expresses the degree of correctness, substantiation and reliability of the findings, conclusions, recommendations and opinions formed on the basis of the audit. It should be noted that in the general case there is no absolute (100%) certainty, however, a reasonably high level of certainty can and should be achieved. The higher the level of audit assurance, the lower the audit risk is. The SAO strives for a high level of assurance during all its audits, so the basic principle in the design of audit procedures is that audits should provide reasonable assurance that errors, irregularities, illegal measures or non-compliances are detected. Reasonable audit assurance means that the information related to the audit meets or does not meet in all material respects with the audit criteria set out during the professional design, and, as appropriate, it has been presented fairly in all material respects. This reasonable level of assurance is different in case of different audit approaches, as the role of audits and their utilization are also different in their case (see later). The diversification of audit approaches contributes to the application of the materiality principle during audits, as the nature, timing and range of audit procedures to be applied and the assessment of the information obtained during the audit shall be designed László Domokos President of the State Audit Office of Hungary Bettina Martus Head of Risk Analysis Department State Audit Office of Hungary A NEW AUDIT APPROACH IN RESPONSE TO CHALLENGES: THE IMPORTANCE OF CHANGE MANAGEMENT