Why we’re confident, but not complacent about delivering quality


By Fiona Kordiak, Director of Audit Services and CIPFA Scotland chair

“If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen” was one of former US president Harry S Truman’s celebrated sayings.

As auditors we can’t complain when we ourselves come under scrutiny. And the spotlight has been on audit recently due to controversies in the corporate sector.

While public audit hasn’t been involved or implicated, it has been a timely reminder to ensure our house is in order.

At Audit Scotland we’re confident but not complacent. The foundations of public audit in Scotland – independent appointment of auditors that are rotated every five years, a wider scope of audit that goes beyond the numbers, and reporting in public – stand us in good stead.

But we need to continually review what we do.

The Audit Scotland annual report gives detail of the internal and external checks in place to ensure the quality of our work, plus the international standards and the Code of Audit Practice that we follow.

More recently we have also set up a professional support team to provide guidance and advice to auditors at the sharp end and that’s part of the process – we are always learning on how we can improve.

As chair this year of CIPFA Scotland, I’m keen that this message goes out to all working in the public sector in Scotland.

Professional scepticism is the cornerstone of our work.  It’s how we ensure public money is well spent.

And the reality is that high-quality public sector audit that’s independent and evidence-based has never been more important.