INTOSAI is the international professional organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of countries that belong to the United Nations or its specialized agencies. INTOSAI was founded in 1953 in Havana and has grown from the original 34 countries to a membership of over 180 SAIs. The national audit institution of Hungary has been member of INTOSAI since 1968. The main task of the organisation is to develop and coordinate co-operation among Supreme Audit Institutions, which play a major role in auditing government accounts and operations, as well as in promoting sound financial management and accountability in their governments.
The supreme decision making body of INTOSAI is the Congress (INCOSAI) that holds triennial meetings to share experiences, discuss issues, and pass recommendations aimed at improving government accountability worldwide. The State Audit Office of Hungary (SAO) had the honour to host a significant and important event, the XVIII INCOSAI in 2004. The Budapest Congress approved the Strategic Plan 2005-2010, which provides a basis for the reform of the organisation.
The Governing Board makes the necessary decisions for implementing the INTOSAI's objectives between Congresses. The Governing Board usually meets annually to provide leadership, stewardship and continuity. The 51st meeting of the Governing Board was organised by the SAO on 13-14 October 2003. (At the same time a special occasion, the 50th Anniversary of INTOSAI, was celebrated in Budapest.) Following the XVIII INCOSAI, an extraordinary Governing Board meeting was held in relation to the implementation of the INTOSAI Strategic Plan, which was hosted also by the SAO. The SAO has been a member of the Governing Board since 2001. In addition, the President of the SAO acted as its Chair from 2004 until the XIX INCOSAI in Mexico in 2007.
There are seven Regional Working Groups promoting the implementation of INTOSAI's goals regionally, thus providing members with opportunities to focus on issues characteristic of their region. These Regional Working Groups are the OLACEFS, the AFROSAI, the ARABOSAI, the ASOSAI, the PASAI, the CAROSAI and the EUROSAI.
Much of the INTOSAI's technical work is undertaken in the committees, working groups and task forces established to advance the audit profession by developing and issuing professional standards, guidelines, methodologies, bibliographies and other practical reference materials. The nomenclature and status of committees and other groups, i.e. the organisational framework of INTOSAI has been restructured to meet the aims of the Strategic Plan. The SAO has been participating in the activity of various committees and other groups.
The SAO participates in the activity of the Professional Standards Committee chaired by the Danish SAI, which aims at promoting strong, independent and multidisciplinary SAIs by encouraging them to lead by example and contributing to the development and adoption of appropriate and efficient standards. Within the Committee, the SAO is an active participant in the Sub-Committee on Internal Control Standards (previously the Internal Control Standards Committee), chaired by the SAI of Poland. The Sub-Committee is to focus on issues of concern in relation to internal controls and to strengthen financial management and establish more focused accountability in the public sector. Its activities include the marketing of the Guidelines for Internal Control Standards for the Public Sector, the amplification and further elaboration of its manual. The SAO headed the Committee between 1992-2001. A SAO representative took part in the work of the Task Force set up within the Sub-Committee in January 2003 to steer and coordinate the updating of the Guidelines for Internal Control Standards.
A SAO colleague works as an expert in the reference panel assisting the Sub-Committee on Financial Audit Guidelines of the Professional Standards Committee in its tasks. Duties of the Sub-Committee are to develop high quality guidelines that are globally accepted for the audit of financial statements in the public sector, incorporate public sector considerations into the International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), and provide guidance above and beyond what is provided in the ISA for public sector audits.
The SAO has also joined the Capacity Building Committee that is under the coordination of the SAI of Morocco. The main tasks of the Committee are to build the capabilities and professional capacities of SAIs through training, technical assistance and other development activities. Within the Committee, the SAO is active participant in the work of Sub-Committee 3 that is set up to promote best practices and quality assurance through voluntary peer reviews.
The SAO was member of the Working Group on Privatisation headed by the National Audit Office of the United Kingdom, which was dissolved at the XX INCOSAI Congress in November 2010. The objectives of the Working Group were to identify and examine problems confronting SAIs in the audit of privatisation; to exchange information on the range of experiences within the Working Group's membership in resolving these problems, having regard to the relevant work of INTOSAI regions; and to facilitate the provision of information on this subject to INTOSAI members. The 8th annual meeting of the Working Group (11-13 June 2001) was hosted by the SAO.
A SAO representative was actively participating in the work of the Task Force on the Audit of International Institutions. Its tasks were to co-ordinate and assist in identifying international institutions that should have SAIs as their external auditors and that need to develop their auditing arrangements to be in line with best audit arrangements; to cooperate with concerned SAIs in promoting the approved principles to relevant international institutions and relevant authorities with the aim to change the audit arrangements; as well as to promote SAIs as external auditors and assist interested SAIs in preparing for such assignments.
The INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) has been the training arm of the INTOSAI since 1986. It supports the enhancement of audit capacities of INTOSAI members. Activities include the long-term regional training programmes (LTRTP), regional satellite and partnership programmes, as well as IDI training seminars and workshops in key areas of government auditing. Three SAO officials participated in IDI training programmes organised for the SAIs of Central and Eastern European Countries with the aim of training a certain number of audit professionals as training specialists with the ever-growing variety of knowledge and skills.
The SAO participates in the activity of the Working Group on Key National Indicators, which was established by a decision made at the INTOSAI Congress in 2007. The working group held its first meeting in May 2008 in Moscow. The strategic goals of the working group are to facilitate information and knowledge sharing among its member SAIs and partners, as well as to carry out evaluations. The working group intends to promote a role of SAIs in assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of national resources and to promote an increase of INTOSAI credibility in the international arena, as well as in the design and control of Key National Indicators. At its meeting in 2009 in Beijing the working group approved the Hungarian proposal on the pilot project in the field of key national indicators describing the processes of knowledge-based economy and society. The SAO related its activity within the framework of the pilot project at the meeting of the working group in 2009 in Kazakhstan.
The SAO is a member of the Task Force Global Financial Crisis headed by the SAI of the USA, whose establishment was decided at the INTOSAI Governing Board meeting in 2008. Its purpose is to enhance the knowledge base of SAIs on financial and economic matters related to the crisis, enhance the exchange of knowledge among SAIs, and thereby help governments and the global community respond to the crisis by being a source of information and experience.