Sep 25, 2023

Empowering Accountability and Transparency in Albania through Training of Internal Auditors in the Public Sector

Ms. Esmerilda Mustafaraj, Head of the Sector Internal Audit Unit at the Municipality of Tirana, reflects on the importance of the Training of Internal Auditors in the Public Sector of Albania (TIAPS Albania) project. Ms. Mustafaraj emphasizes the project's role in enhancing accountability and transparency within the public sector in Albania.

“When I heard about TIAPS Albania project, organized by the CEF and Charted Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) to support the development of internal auditing, I saw an opportunity and said to myself, “Don’t let it go!” The focus of the project is to build organizations and capacity to provide accountability and transparency in the use of public funds, with the aim of establishing sustainable and lasting relationships that combine international best practices with deep knowledge of the local context. 

Audit and Assurance was the first module of the TIAPS Albania program, introducing the role of internal auditing in contributing to organizational governance through assurance and advisory services. The training was practical, delivered by the CEF’s regional and local expert tutors, and included also on-the-job training. This enabled us to assimilate the lectures and increase the potential to apply these new knowledge and skills in the workplace. CIPFA’s international expert in internal auditing Francis Nicolson was one of the lecturers in the first module, who did an excellent job with his online lectures. Students could match the study materials with examples of international practices, also adapted to the Albanian context, which made learning more understandable and simpler. 

Being a participant in the TIAPS project, I received an invitation to take part in the CEF-CIPFA Conference The Role of Digitalization in Public Financial Management in South East Europe, which took place on May 11, 2023, in Prishtina, Kosovo. Hosted by the CEF and CIPFA, this international conference explored the roles of public financial management professionals in public sector digital transformation. The conference’s primary focus was on the specific issues and examples in South East Europe. 

Digitalization is an absolute necessity. The public sector is facing immense pressure to become more efficient, transparent, and accountable. Digitalization is the key to achieving these objectives. In Albania, important steps have been and will be taken, especially in the areas of public sector asset management and digitization. However, further improvement and investments in digitization must be continued to achieve the goal.

The conference provided an opportunity to share specialized knowledge and experience, and it also enabled participants to establish professional relationships and valuable connections with peers from different parts of the region. The exchange of experiences with colleagues from various countries with different experiences, even communication during coffee breaks and at lunch, has a special value and importance. As the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger has said, “Long is the path of teaching through theories; short and effective through examples.”