ANI Photo | Auditors should engage with stakeholders to gather inputs, address concerns: CAG GC Murmu

Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Girish Chandra Murmu emphasised the need to prioritise audit procedures based on identified risks, focusing on areas with the highest potential for fraud, mismanagement, or regulatory non-compliance while speaking at a three-day international conference on “Strengthening of Grassroots Democracy” in Delhi.
Girish Chandra Murmu said that for this, we must use technology, leveraging digital tools and platforms to streamline data collection, analysis, and reporting processes, making audits more efficient and effective.
Technology can also aid in real-time information sharing, enabling auditors to respond promptly to emerging issues and challenges. Together, we need to advocate transparency and accountability in local government operations, encouraging the adoption of best practices in financial reporting and governance, he added.
CAG further said, we need to go “Glocal”–thinking and acting with both global and local perspectives simultaneously, emphasising the interconnectedness of local communities and global systems in today’s increasingly globalised world.
In the context of auditing local bodies, “glocal” principles emphasise the need to integrate global standards and best practices with the unique characteristics and requirements of local governments.
Auditors need to consider factors such as the size, complexity, and resources of the local government entity when applying auditing standards.
Audit should be familiar with the political, social, and economic context in which the local governments operate to tailor audit procedures and recommendations accordingly. Stakeholder involvement ensures audit findings are relevant, credible, and actionable.
There must be institutionalised collaboration among SAIs and with international audit organizations to share best practices, exchange knowledge and experiences of glocal auditors, said Murmu further.
By creating a platform for collaboration, we learn from each other’s successes and challenges, fostering a global community dedicated to improving local government audit practices. This conference is a step in that direction, and we intend making it an annual event”.
He further stated that, to effectively navigate the complexities of auditing local governments, we need to build capacity of our auditors as well as the local government employees to enhance their understanding of financial management practices and internal controls.
Besides, open communication channels with local government officials can facilitate the audit process, improve data accessibility, and foster cooperation in addressing audit findings. It is to this end that we have set up SAI India’s International Centre for Audit of Local Governance at Rajkot.
The participating SAIs shared insightful country reports, which brought out significant issues and challenges pertaining to the local government accountability frameworks. The issues encountered by the SAIS while auditing these complex frameworks were unique as well as universal in nature.
The discussions highlighted strengthening of controls and procedures, implementation of adequate control over assets, adherence to pertinent rules and regulations and the provision of high-quality, timely reports to enhance performance and drive improvement.
The conference brought out the need for vigorous capacity building to strengthen audit operations and maintaining a close relationship with entities with the aim to assist them better. There was also emphasis on improving the internal control mechanisms and administrative-legal acts.
Largely, the need for adopting a holistic approach which takes into factor various facets of local governance institutions, viz Planning, Budgeting, Financial Reporting, IT Infrastructure development, was stressed upon.
The conference highlighted collaborative efforts to enhance transparency, accountability, and good governance at the grassroots level. The insights gained and connections formed are expected to drive positive changes in local governance worldwide

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