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COA vows digital transformation of state audit in the next seven years

The Commission on Audit (COA) has vowed to pursue digital transformation for the next seven years.

In a statement, COA chairperson Gamaliel Cordoba said the agency's strategic thrusts will be focused on:

  • developing an easy to implement and technology driven government accounting system compliant with international standards
  • introducing e-audit as the manner of conducting audit through digitizing government transactions including collections in partnership with all government agencies and
  • leveraging technology to improve audit techniques and procedures, including the development of an automated audit system for e-collections and e-payments and use of artificial intelligence to crunch big data to determine patterns and detect fraud.

Cordoba said this was agreed upon during COA's strategic directives at a planning conference conducted from April 24 to 27 April, which was attended by 140 senior officials, including him and Commissioners Roland Pondoc and Mario Lipana.

"These strategic thrusts are in line with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s call to embrace digitalization and adopt technological innovations to make the country more competitive," he said.

Also included in the chairperson’s 10 point agenda are:

  • aligning existing rules and regulations with the changing times and conditions
  • prescribing new rules to cover gaps and emerging issues and updating audit guidelines for e-payment to cover contracts entered into with social media platforms
  • capacitating and training both the auditors and agency personnel involved in financial transactions on the updated accounting and auditing rules and regulations
  • filling-up around 5,000 plus vacant positions in the COA
  • adopting a merit-based succession planning program
  • adopting a pro-active system to address backlog in the disposition of appealed cases brought about by the pandemic
  • developing guidelines for the audit of PPP projects and public utilities and train personnel for the conduct of such audit and
  • enhancing the communication line with the auditees and bodies with oversight over COA audit reports, especially Congress.

“COA has long held the respect of the public and government agencies as an institution that zealously safeguards the nation’s coffers as well as exemplary performance of duties and responsibilities with excellence, skill and integrity. I hope to lead you to build capacities and capabilities to audit areas that have not previously been emphasized or highlighted such as the audit of Private Public Partnership projects," Cordoba said.

"We are now moving into modernizing audit through leveraging technology, and I hope that we will be able to take a step further, enabling a technology driven government accounting system, digitizing government transactions in partnership with all government agencies and paving the way for e-audit as the manner of conducting audit,” he added.

Lipana, on the other hand, said inputs in the strategic planning conference will become the foundation that will guide COA to be among the top performing Supreme Audit Institutions.—Llanesca Panti/AOL, GMA Integrated News