Mar 16, 2017

Strengthening Internal Audit Knowledge in Participatory Discussions

During the year 2016, Mioara Diaconescu continued her training experience with the CEF and shares her last impressions. She participated in the Tackling Fraud and Corruption workshop in November 2016, with experts present from the Academy of the Dutch Ministry of Finance.

I was interested in this topic because our Central Harmonization Unit at the Ministry of Public Finance acts as an audit authority for some bilateral funds, such as European Economic Area Financial Mechanism. I arrived at the CEF with high expectations, being excited about getting to know people with experience in this field. My expectations were related to some particular approaches and differences between fraud and corruption, and the interconnectivity with the audit activity, especially regarding the concept of red flag. I was particularly interested in this issue and the possibility to apply this concept in our internal procedures as a new technique in order to signalize some risky areas. 

From the first hour of the workshop I understood that this meeting will be different from other similar events – but in a good way. Not only because the CEF people make you feel at home at each visit but also because a good and experienced trainer is a treasure, which you have to use every time you get the chance. 

The two experts from the Academy of the Dutch Ministry of Finance were very experienced professionals. I learned a lot from them, especially Jo Kremers. I truly appreciated the opportunity of sharing experience during the exercises proposed to the participants, the highly interactive slide presentations and the answers given to my questions. In addition, I met with some auditors from other SEE countries, whom I knew already beforehand, and interacted with them in our joint session. I have to admit, however, that some of them did not feel too comfortable but their wealth of experience in auditing helped them find proper solutions. 

As regards the training topics, I was very interested in the relation between the identified fraud cases and the Internal Audit Committee’s responsibilities. Internal Audit Committees play an important role in the fraud cases identified at the highest level of management. In my country there are some committees in place but we have to complete the responsibilities of the committee members and start using the best practices in the field. With the support of the two experts, I understood the role of the internal audit committee and the moment when it can intervene. 

This workshop was useful for me in many ways: it helped consolidate my professional career and understand better our role as auditors, opened up a new window to new approaches and, last but not least, gave the opportunity to learn from other experienced colleagues.

I would like to thank the CEF for the excellent organization of the workshop and for their positive attitude and approach, especially Kaja, a young and enthusiastic member of the team. 

Mioara Diaconescu
Director of CHU for Public Internal Audit
Ministry of Public Finance, Romania