Digital Auditing in Russia and China: regional agencies help their SAIs to enrich databases

Press center
January 27, 2021

“Regular ACRF monitorings of SAIs’ activities during the COVID-19 show the significant increase in digitalization around the world. The pandemic has forced the implementation of new technologies and mechanisms in our work. SAIs have to switch to working online: remote access to databases, online services for auditing and knowledge exchange in this sphere”, – stated Timur Makhmutov, Director of Department for International and Regional Cooperation, in his welcome address at the seminar on digitalization held by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation and the National Audit Office of the People’s Republic of China.

His colleague, Jiang Haiying, Director General of the Department of International Cooperation from SAI China added that it was impossible to imagine SAIs activities without digital technologies until then: “Thanks to such seminars and communication we get an opportunity to enrich our cooperation and make our relations more trustful and profound”.

SAI China has a long audit digitalization development history. For more than 20 years new technologies have been implementing in a daily routine and auditing activities. Nowadays in their policy they focus on information support capability. The National Audit Office has constructed five application systems (including National Audit Big Data Center, Comprehensive Audit Operation Platform and National Audit Digital Management Platform) and improved standards and specifications, network system along with security protection system. All these examples are included in the Phase III of the China’s audit digitalization planning – Golden Audit Project. According to Xiong Wanjiao, Division Director of the Department of Electronic Data Audit, CNAO, these systems provide a strong technical support for audit work, especially for the smooth remote audit work during the COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control.

At the moment all these technologies are used at the central level and also include over 30 provinces and municipalities, and data acquisition system is also based on this separation. At the central level, SAI China has made great efforts in improving the system, clarifying work requirements, and standardizing processes, whereas local audit institutions enrich data resources to form a library of basic data resources, and build an analysis environment, stated Chinese colleagues.

Russian experts from the Digital Transformation Department also shared their experience with foreign colleagues and paid attention to the information and analytical system for remote performance of external state audit IAS UVGA. “It is designed to provide information and analytical support for the activities of employees during monitoring and to increase the efficiency of work by means of using and processing of data available in the information systems of auditees. An applied software package is developed to build analytical and summary reports based on auditing results and to control public spending”, – pointed out Ksenia Kostash, Unit Head of the Digital Transformation Department. She added that the risk-based approach used in the IAS UVGA was implemented on the basis of mathematical model for calculating risk-factor statistical data and planning future ACRF activities.

Leading expert of the Federal State Institution “Center for expert-analytical and information technologies of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation” Roman Nekrasov in his speech highlighted several problems in digital auditing and ways of further development. In his opinion, it is necessary to develop interdisciplinary teams, ways of processing information, using alternative data and prescriptive analytics. In his presentation he also stressed that for countries that have large territories like Russia and China geospatial monitoring is a good practice. 

Moreover, at the seminar more than 190 representatives from Russian regional and municipal audit institutions have got an opportunity to get information on the latest trends in digital technologies, exchange their own experience with their colleagues and discuss further steps in the development.