Final year accountancy students from the Central University at Miotso, near Prampram in the Greater Accra Region have paid a study visit to the Audit Service in Accra to have an on-site practical orientation of audit procedures, planning, risk assessment and legal responsibilities of a state auditor.
The Director in charge of Training at the Audit Service, Mr. Salis Alhassan walked the students through the various processes in auditing including audit planning, execution and reporting as well as the legal responsibilities of the state auditor. He also explained some auditing standards and the distinction between private and public sector auditing.
The Director in charge of Legal Services of the Service, Mr. Vincent Nyame, in a presentation on disallowance and surcharge, explained the benefits of implementing Article 187 (7) (b) of the 1992 Constitution. The said Article provides that “in the performance of his functions under the Constitution or any other law, the Auditor-General may disallow any item of expenditure which is contrary to the law and surcharge.”
He noted that in the past, the Service did very little beside cataloguing financial irregularities in the Auditor-General’s (A-G) report and submitting them to Parliament as required by Article 187(5) of the Constitution. He said, “cataloguing financial irregularities” became an annual ritual until the Supreme Court in June 2017 ruled that the A-G was must enforce the law in its fullest form.
The ruling, he said, came about when OccupyGhana, a Civil Society Organisation, sued the Attorney-General/Auditor-General for failing to exercise his powers under Article 187(7)(b). The ruling he said, has helped to save state funds while public officials and private persons who execute government contracts are guarded in managing state funds.
A staff at the Public Relations Office of the Service, Ms. Alberta Owoo, delivered a presentation on Performance and Special Audits. She explained to the students the distinction between financial audits and performance or value for money audits. She said, while financial audits focus mainly on establishing a true and fair view of the financial statement or accounts of public institutions, performance audits focus on how public institutions effectively, efficiently and economically execute their mandate as well as the environmental impact of their activities.
Welcoming the students, Mr. Bernard Conduah, also a staff at the Public Relations Office commended the students for embarking on such an exploratory visit, saying such visits provide students the opportunity to have practical insight into the field of work.
He said the Audit Service is a public institution set up as a machinery for the Auditor-General to execute his mandate under Articles 184, 187, and 286 of the 1992 Constitution. He indicated that the Service’s role is to promote accountability and transparency in Ghana’s public financial management system.
He disclosed that the Service through its audits have made huge contributions to the public financial management of Ghana. These included retrieving funds from persons who had illegally appropriated public monies, ensuring that funds are used for the intended purposes, and that public institutions keep good records of their activities to ensure business continuity.
The field trip is part of the requirements of the University’s course in Audit and Assurance undertaken by final year accountancy students of the Business Department of the University. The visit helped bridge the gap between theory and practical study of Accounting. It also inspired the students on the prospects of accountancy and its related professions.
The President of the Accountancy Students Association and leader of the delegation, Mr. Mac-Abel Acolatse expressed his gratitude to the Management and staff of the Service for the warm reception and the exposure.