ROBERT L. KILBY IS WRONG ABOUT REMOTE AUDITING IN LIBERIA

On 8 May 2012 during the 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM newscasts by Truth FM 96.1, it was reported that the disgraced Auditor General nominee whose nomination was withdrawn by President Sirleaf last year due to controversies surrounding his academic credentials which he could not defend has indicated that the GAC is not using information technology to conduct audits and is using traditional method of auditing to conduct audits.

The newscast also attributed to Mr. Kilby that when information technology is introduced at the GAC, audits would be done remotely and that GAC’s auditors would not have to go to the various counties to perform audits. This latest assertion by Mr. Kilby demonstrates that he lacks the basic understanding of auditing in a low technology environment like Liberia, where nearly all Government institutions are using the legacy system as a platform for financial information processing.  The government’s financial systems are manual in most cases. Accounting systems, if used at all, are basically standalone or legacy systems that are not yet integrated or networked.  The platform does not just exist for remote auditing in Liberia as Mr. Kilby is implying.

First, to remotely perform audit queries, the auditees must possess an automated financial management system that one can remotely log into to access the data.  Secondly, data transmission devices such as a reliable telecommunication system must be available. More so, there must be electricity available to power the computers by both the auditor and the client. How then can he be talking about remote data access when ninety percent of the country does not have electricity, the telecommunication system, and an automated financial management system? South Africa which is an advanced society still sends its auditors out in the field; what about Liberia?

Auditors still have to go to the client’s site to perform financial statement audit, performance audit, labor qualifications, environmental audit among others. Mr. Kilby is dead wrong to say that with information technology, Auditors do not have to go to the client’s sites to perform said audits.  Auditors in the United States, Europe and other advanced societies still have to go to the client’s site to perform fieldwork during audits. Liberia is in a rudimentary stage of technology, where systems are manual, how then can Kilby say he will audit remotely? 

Government has just established IFMIS (The Integrated Financial Management System).  Under this plan, a data center is expected to be established at the GAC and auditors from the Commission will access financial transactions at the Ministry of Finance. GAC has established an IT Audit Department and is training its auditors to serve as IT Auditors at the Commission.  However, IT auditing will take hold in Liberia only when the systems and platforms are available across Government to accommodate IT auditing.  No one should fool the Liberian people that audits can be performed remotely across the country without visiting the client’s site. Mr. Kilby, what happen to the Standards of Fieldwork? Even in the Great United States auditors still go to client’s site to perform audits.

The GAC will remain resolute in defense of the institution and would not allow anyone campaigning for job to disparage the institution and its leadership.