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Title: Recent annual report weaknesses by a supreme audit institution : an analysis
Authors: Baldacchino, Peter J.
Pule, Daniel
Tabone, Norbert
Agius, Justine
Keywords: National Audit Office (Malta)
Finance, Public -- Malta -- Auditing
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Citation: Baldacchino, P.J., Pule, D., Tabone, N., & Agius, A. (2016). Recent annual report weaknesses by a supreme audit institution: an analysis. In Simon Grima, & Frank Bezzina (ed.), Contemporary Issues in Bank Financial Management (Contemporary Studies in Economic and Financial Analysis, Volume 97, pp.133-156.) Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Abstract: This chapter is based on the Annual Report on Public Accounts prepared by the Maltese National Audit Office (NAO), Malta’s Supreme Audit Institution. Its objectives are to analyse and classify the reported issues, evaluate their significance and how the findings are reflected in the Public Sector, and assess the adequacy of the communication of these findings through the Annual Report. The research consisted of a qualitative analysis of the Annual Reports for the three years 2007, 2009 and 2011. This analysis was supplemented by unstructured interviews conducted with both NAO and Government officials. Findings report a significant number of issues emerging from different factors. The highest incidence of weaknesses was related to record-keeping and compliance with policies and procedures. Moreover, the interviews with NAO officials showed that the departments were not always taking on board the recommendations made through the Annual Reports, thus indicating a passive attitude towards the reported findings. The results also show that while the Government has its own structures of checks-and-balances to prevent and detect errors, and no internal control system is completely effective, there is still much room for improvement within the Public Sector to ensure that public funds are appropriately utilised. The detection of various issues by the NAO is therefore inevitable, particularly given the complexity and size of the Public Sector. In conclusion, the NAO findings should be more thoroughly examined to reduce the incidence of issues. Furthermore, the way forward should be directed at enhancing the current systems and promoting a more positive relationship between the NAO and auditees.
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