Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal (Print ISSN: 1096-3685; Online ISSN: 1528-2635)

Research Article: 2019 Vol: 23 Issue: 5

Important Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of Kuwait State Audit Bureau (KSAB)

Abdullah AL-Mutairi, Gulf University for Science and Technology

Kamal Naser, Financial Advisor, Kuwait Fund

Abdullah AL-Haji, Kuwait State Audit Bureau

Abstract

The study aims to survey the Kuwait State Audit Bureau (KSAB) personnel about what should be done to achieve the bureau’s objectives as a monitoring body providing independent financial and performance audit for government entities. To achieve this objective, a questionnaire distributed by hand to 250 KSAB personnel during July 2018; 189 of them returned completed resulting in 76% usable response rate. The results of the analyses revealed that KSAB could achieve its objectives by strengthening the audit process together with the financial and administrative audit. KSAB should also take specific measures to monitor the performance of the audited government entities. The respondents believe that the audit process can be effective and achieves its purpose by verifying that financial and accounting transactions are supported by related documentation, all financial transactions are recorded and accounts balances are real, not fake. The respondents also believe that it is highly important to plan the audit process, and to gather sufficient and relevant audit evidence. To ensure effective managerial audit, the respondents believe it is very important for the audited government entity to have a clear organizational structure; it must also avoid previous mistakes, deviations, install adequate, and effectiveness internal control system to follow-up managerial decisions associated with public fund protection. The respondents indicated that the effectiveness of the legal system could be achieved by allowing KSAB to report directly to the democratically elected National Assembly. Effectiveness can further be achieved by safety application of laws, regulations and instructions, checking that the authorized people make the decisions. Extra power should be given to the Audit Bureau to maintain responsibility and accountability. Finally, the respondents demonstrated that KSAB can achieve its objectives effectively and efficiently by ensuring that the audited government entity is using financial resources efficiently (without dissipation) and effectively (for the appropriate purposes), using human resources effectively (the right person in the right place).

Keywords

Accounting Fraud, Audit Bureau, Managerial Control, Accountability, Government, Auditors, Transparency, Kuwait.

Introduction

A state audit bureau (AB) is viewed as a structure used to manage and monitor the government entities performance in order to ensure their effectiveness and compliance with anticorruption regulations. AB further aims at enhancing audit role in governance by establishing responsibilities and accountability and assessing government performance at large. The role of AB and its effectiveness have been subjected to growing research. The focus of empirical research was mainly on the effectiveness of AB in reducing waste in public resources and improving the quality of the public services. Empirical studies confirmed the importance role of the audit bureau as an effective instrument in reducing waste, improving the quality of the public services, and achieving the goals of the public programs in efficient and effective manners. AB also assists in improving rules and regulations by automating financial and accounting processes. The findings, however, would not be applicable to some emerging rich economies, like the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) in general and State of Kuwait in particular, where the government exercises control over major economic activities. Hence, the purpose of this study is to examine the perception of the KSAB of what should be done to achieve AB objectives effectively and efficiently by maintaining control over the public funds1.

The importance of this study stems from the fact that it comes few years after the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) had worked with Kuwaiti authorities on a three years project to support KSAB to develop a performance management framework. The project started in 2011 and ended in 2013. Thus, identifying factors that influence the success of KSAB is of interest to both decision makers and audit practitioners. For the former, it might help in the design of manpower and technical training programs in the field of management analysis and control as well as performance auditing in the public sector. For the latter, it might be used as benchmark in the application of analytical procedures and audit process to overcome challenges and exploit the advantages of analytical procedures. In addition, the findings might add a new dimension to the literature and contribute to the limited body of empirical studies on the role of BA in the GCC region.

The remainder of the study is organized as follows. The following section presents a brief review of related literature and previous studies. Data collection and study methodology are explained in section three. While empirical results are discussed in the fourth section, a conclusion is offered in the final section.

Literature Review

Auditing is an important mechanism in the general system of public financial accounting. Auditing government accounts plays a significant role in ensuring quality reporting (Onatuyeh & Aniefor, 2013). Public sector auditing evaluates the efficient use of public finances and guarantees sticking with rules and regulations (Ng’eni, 2016). Badara (2012) described auditing as an estimation of accounting transactions and records regarding the accuracy and compliance with relevant accounting standards and organizational policies. The objective of financial accountability is to use public resources for the provision of public services efficiently (Wang, 2002). Hence, the main principles of governance in government accounting are transparency and accountability (Djatmiati et al., 2014).

Several studies have been undertaken to examine the role of Audit Bureau' (Saudi Arabia: Gillespie & Al-Hazmi, 1985; Al-Nofaie, 2003; Al-Aqarni, 2008; Faqeeh, 2010; Alzeban & Sawan, 2013; Alktanii & Ghareebii, 2014; Alzebana & Gwilliamba, 2014; Jordan: Dabbas, 1986; Al-Rahahleh, 2006; Al-kaiber, 2013; Alshboul & Alrabba, 2014; Ja'arah et al., 2015, Kuwait: Al-Rashed, 1999; Al-Dahmelin, 2010; Al Dosary, 2011; Al-Qarioti, 2015, China: Yang et al., 2008, Mexico: Aragón, 2009, Palestine: Farawanh, 2011, Libya: Shariha, 2014. Shariha et al., 2014. Ja'arah et al., 2015, Shatnawi & Hatamleh, 2015, Pakistan: Masood & Lodhi, 2015). A brief review of these studies is offered in the following section.

In Saudi Arabia, Gillespie & Al-Hazmi (1985) pointed to the importance of the implementation of a unique computer-auditing training program that has been adopted in 1981 in activating the role of Saudi Arabia General Auditing Bureau (GAB). They recommended an emphasis on on-the-job training program to monitor trainees' formal training. Al-Nofaie (2003) pointed out that the General Auditing Bureau of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was established in 1953 confined its role on traditional financial post-audit tasks. However, Al-Nofaie mentioned that its functions extended to include performance auditing in addition to financial and compliance auditing. Moreover, Al-qarni (2008) used a questionnaire as a research tool to investigate the perception of the auditors who work for the GAB. He noticed that the GAB's auditors showed good understanding of GAB's role and responsibilities and the auditors face a pressure that prevents them from performing their job properly. Al-Qarni argued that the reason behind the ignorance of the main role of GAB's responsibility is that their reports are not available to the public. Faqeeh (2010) stated that GAB has made serious steps and contributed to the development of the state agencies. It improved the government accounting system, created internal audit units within government entities and formulates a unified regulation for internal audit units. It had also automated financial and accounting processes, and improved rules and regulations. Alzeban & Sawan, (2013) examined the role of internal audit in the public sector and they found that the underpinnings of the Saudi Internal Audit Regulation did not tie in directly with perceived international best practice. Alktanii & Ghareebii (2014) examined the quality of the internal auditing position in the public sector in Saudi Arabia. They pointed to a lack of independence of the internal audit functions at public sector units, as well as a dearth of professionalism, which may have a negative effect on the quality of the internal auditing function. Alzebana & Gwilliamba (2014) examined factors affecting the internal audit effectiveness (IAE) in the Saudi public sector. They found that management support for IAE drives perceived effectiveness of the internal audit function from both management’s and the internal auditors’ perspective.

In Jordan, Dabbas (1986) claimed that the Jordanian Audit Bureau (JAB) is a fully independent body responsible before the Parliament and it has two major functions: pre-auditing government payments and post-auditing expenditures. It evaluates government programs by letting the auditor to review laws and regulations governing them and determine how efficiently the program has been administered. Al-Rahahleh (2006) used a questionnaire to examine the role of the Jordanian Audit Bureau Law in safeguarding public funds in Jordan. He found that the audit law is not consistent with international audit standards and there is a need to issue a new law that takes into account new modern changes. Alkaiber (2013) assessed to what extent the Jordanian Audit Bureau procedures are relevant in fighting corruption, from the viewpoint of auditors in JAB. The researcher noticed that audit procedures followed by the Jordanian Audit Bureau are significant to some extent for fighting corruption in the public sector in four areas of Audit Bureau controls: accounting and financial, administration, performance and legal. Alshboul & Alrabba, (2014) examined the effectiveness of analytical procedures used by the JAB in the audit process employed to discover accounting fraud in public institutions. They found current JAB analytical tools to detect accounting fraud in public institutions have significant effect on the occurrence of accounting fraud in Jordanian institutions. They also found that more experienced auditors tend to agree that more analytical tools are still needed to combat accounting fraud. An additional study conduct by Ja'arah et al. (2015) who examined the appropriateness of procedures of the JAB to the symptoms of anti-corruption from the standpoint of Audit Bureau’s personnel. They found that fighting corruption in the public sector in Jordan lacks proper audit procedures. They recommended updating and developing audit procedures to become more relevant for fighting corruption. They suggested the formation of a special court to deal with Audit Bureau cases. Moreover, Shatnawi & Hatamleh (2015) examined the role of JAB, as a top control entity, in preserving public funds. They found that JAB has a significant role in safeguarding public funds by assisting the Parliament in assuming its auditing role and keeping the public informed of the financial and economic conditions.

In Kuwait, Al-Rashed (1999) examined the role of the KSAB in safeguarding public funds. He studied its role of the KSAB in safeguarding public funds in comparison with similar institutions worldwide. He concluded that KSAB is doing a great job in safeguarding public fund. However, it needs qualified accountants to enhance its mission. In a different line of research, Al-Dahmelin (2010) examined the impact of the KASB reports on internal system on the Lending and Savings Bank as a state bank. He noticed that KSAB has a positive impact in developing the bank system, reducing the graveness of risks and ensuring the accuracy of the financial and accounting information. Al Dosary (2011) confirmed the positive impact of KSAB on the technical and administrative competencies. Another study undertaken by Al-Qarioti (2015) who surveyed KASB employees regarding their role in detecting government agencies deviations and violations. The researcher concluded that KAB employees are highly satisfied with their role. He, however, recommended adopting a merit system in recruiting and selecting employees on competitive basis to ensure selecting best competencies, and providing competitive incentives to retain them and keep turnover rates at minimum levels.

In China, Yang et al. (2008) used interviews with government auditors, government and people's congress officials, and leading academics to assess the current government auditing system. The researchers concluded that audit independence can be enhanced by moving the control of government auditing to the legislatures. However, they believe that such a move is not practical in the current political climate. They proposed a “Dual-Track System” in which the different audit responsibilities currently undertaken by the government auditing system are separated.

In Mexico Aragón (2009) studied the Superior Audit Office (SAO) and highlighted that it aims to ensure a professional auditing practice that substantially improved upon the performance of its predecessor. He, however, observed that the majority of the Mexican population are not fully aware of the SAO's tasks and responsibilities. Yet, he reported that more than 70% of the population believe it is important for public institutions to be held accountable and act with transparency. Aragón concluded that society places a high value on transparency and accountability and society has the right to oversee honest and efficient use of public assets.

In Libya Shariha (2014) examined the role of members of the State Audit Bureau (SAB) in combating financial corruption. He found weaknesses in understanding auditor function. He observed that the SAB does not adopt the international control standards and ignores the provision of necessary auditors training to fulfil qualification as auditors. Shariha encouraged SAB to open its doors to public interaction and devise some mechanism to involve general public or concerned citizens in planning the audit work. Another study by Shariha et al. (2014) examined the role of Audit Bureau members in eradicating financial corruption. They found weakness in the level of realizing the funds to its function, which considered as main reason for its establishment. They also found that the Audit Bureau has not certified its control standards to international standards. They observed that the Bureau does not provide necessary training programmers to qualify the auditors and enable them to use advanced procedures. Given the current political and security conditions that Libya is experiencing since 2011, the outcome and the legitimacy of these studies are questionable. Given that Libya is without any form of government and government entities are not functioning, the role of the State Audit Bureau is obsolete. Conducting two studies to assess the role of the Audit Bureau in combating corruption in non-existed government entities is meaningless.

In Palestine, Farawanh (2011) examined the development of the role of the state Audit and Administrative Control Bureau on monitoring the performance of the Palestinian Universities". He reported some violations of some articles of the international laws and standards by the department of financial and administrative supervision particularly Mexico declaration.

In Pakistan, Masood & Lodhi (2015) examined factors affecting the success of government audit in Pakistan. They found low morale of auditors, lack of financial independence, lack of qualified trainers, ineffective training institutes are preventing effective audit, and this ultimately makes it difficult to maintain transparency and accountability in the public sector. Masood & Lodhi recommended that Parliament should facilitate government auditors through the availability of sufficient resources, training and growth opportunities.

It can be concluded that both the audit bureau and the audited government entity affect the effectiveness of the role of the audit bureau in monitoring government entities functions and performance. The capabilities of the audit bureau personnel and procedures adopted by the administrative, legislative and the performance systems incorporated by the audited government entity are crucial to the success of the state audit bureau. Consequently, this study is set out to provide answers to the following research questions.

Research question 1: What are the most important steps that need to be followed by the KSAB, in the auditing process, to achieve its objectives?

Research question 2: What are the most important administrative procedures that need to be adopted by the audited government entity to achieve KSAB objectives?

Research question 3: What are the most important legislative procedures that need to be adopted by the audited government entity to achieve KSAB objectives?

Research question 4: What are the most important performance procedures that need to be adopted by the audited government entity to achieve KSAB objectives?

Data Collection and Study Methodology

During July 2017, 250 questionnaires were distributed to KSAB personnel and 189 returned completed resulting in 76% usable response rate. The questionnaire comprised two sections: The first section seeks general and background information about the respondents. The second section contained different aspects of KSAB functions and the audited entities. The respondents were asked to specify the importance they attach to different aspects of audit necessary to achieve KSAB objectives. Various aspects of audit listed in the questionnaire were mainly based on scientific steps undertaken by both the audit body and the audited entity to ensure effective outcome. The questionnaires were then entered in an SPSS file for analysis. Descriptive statistics has been utilized to shed some light on the respondent’s background. Descriptive statistics has been also used to identify the importance that the respondents attach to various aspects of audit. To identify statistically significant differences between two or more groups of the independent variables, Kruskal-Wallis has been employed. Kruskal-Wallis test is an alternative to the parametric one-way ANOVA, and an extension to the Mann-Whitney U test that permits comparison between only two independent groups.

To measure the internal consistency (reliability) of the collected data, Cronbach's Alpha (α) using SPSS Statistics was performed. Cronbach's Alpha (α) computed and resulted in 0.957. In general, a commonly acceptable Cronbach's Alpha (α) is ≥ 0.70.

Findings

Respondents Background

Table 1 summarizes the main characteristics of the respondents who took part in the questionnaire. The table reveals that the vast majority of the respondents (97.4%) are Kuwaiti nationals and more than 50% of them are females. This reflects the labour force structure of the Kuwaiti public sector where priority is given to the Kuwaitis and specific types of jobs are dominated by females. Kuwait is a conservative society where women’s participation is the economic activities is limited to specific type of jobs. The table further shows that a significant proportion of the respondents studied accounting (82.5%) with few of them specialized in business and law. This is not surprising since the main purpose of the KSAB is conduct financial audit. The table further revealed that 59.3% of the respondents are aged between 25- 39 years old and since 86.2% of them hold Bachelor degree, this means that a substantial part of them has several years of work experience. This reality is confirmed in Table 1 as almost three quarters of the respondents indicated that have more than 6 years of work experience. The table also demonstrated that 84.1% of the respondents completed their academic qualifications from Kuwait. Given that 99.4% of the respondents have Bachelor or Masters academic qualifications, obtaining these levels of academic qualifications from Kuwaiti academic institutions are predictable since many local state and private universities offer these academic qualifications. Finally, the table shows that the respondents occupy positions at different managerial ranks within the KSAB.

Table1 Respondents' Background
Participant Frequency Percent
Nationality Kuwaiti 179 97.4
  Non-Kuwaiti 10 5.3
  Total 189 100.0
Gender Male 94 49.7
  Female 95 51.3
  Total 189 100.0
Academic Business Administration 14 7.4
Specialization Accounting 156 82.5
  Finance 3 1.6
  Economics 1 0.5
  Law 15 7.9
  Total 189 100.0
Age less than 25 years old 16 8.5
  from 25-39  years old 112 59.3
  from 40-50  years old 34 18.0
  More than 50  years old 27 14.3
  Total 189 100.0
level of Bachelor 163 86.2
Education Master level 25 13.2
  Ph.D. 1 0.5
  Total 240 100.0
Place from which Kuwait 159 84.1
Last academic Arab countries not Kuwait 17 9.0
qualification USA, 5 2.6
Obtained UK, 2 1.1
  Other 6 3.2
  Total 189 100.0
Occupation Assistant auditor 31 16.4
  Associate auditor 40 21.2
  Auditor 30 15.9
  Senior auditor 21 11.1
  Principal auditor 14 7.4
  Chief auditor 40 21.2
  Other 13 6.9
  Total 189 100.0
Work Experience one-5 years 48 25.4
  6-10 years 62 32.8
  More than 10 years 77 40.7
  4 1 0.5
  5 1 0.5
  Total 183 96.8
  one-5 years 42 22.2

To assess the ability of KSAB to effectively practice its role as an oversight body over the government entities by providing independent financial, legislative and performance of the audited entities, different dimensions of audit need to be considered. The second part of the questionnaire contained four audit dimensions: auditing process, administrative, legislative and performance procedures employed by the audited government entity. The respondents were asked to state the level of importance they assign to the components of the each of the four dimensions to the effectiveness of the audit.

Auditing Process

The respondents were given specific steps undertaken by the audit bureau personnel to achieve their objectives effectively and efficiently and they have been asked to identify the importance they attach to each of the listed steps. A summary of their answers is brought together in Table 2. The table uncovered that the respondents attached either important or the highest level of importance to all steps listed in the questionnaire as replicated by the mean and the median. The low reported standard deviation indicates that the respondents were consistent in the importance they attached to each of the listed steps. This further confirmed by the Kruskal Wallis test since no significant differences in the respondents' answers appeared in the table. Be that as it may, the respondents attached the highest levels of importance to verify that financial and accounting transactions are supported by related documentation, checking whether the balances existed (not fake) and all operations are recorded, planning the audit process, ensuring that all financial and accounting transactions are recorded and gathering sufficient and relevant audit evidence.

Table 2 The Importance the Respondents Attach to Different Steps of the Auditing Process
Auditing process Mean Median Std. Dev. χ2 Sig.
Planning the audit process 4.70 5.00 0.59 4.01 0.40
Evaluation of the internal control system in the institutions to be audited 4.62 5.00 0.66 1.51 0.83
Ensuring a separation of conflicting tasks within the party covered by the audit 4.61 5.00 0.65 6.27 0.18
Ensuring the availability of a valid documentary cycle in the party covered by the audit 4.69 5.00 0.55 5.81 0.21
Verifying that financial and accounting transactions are supported by related documentation 4.83 5.00 0.42 3.73 0.44
Checking existence of balances and recorded operations and they are not fake 4.79 5.00 0.49 1.73 0.79
Ensuring the accuracy of the recorded, posted and balances of the financial and accounting transactions 4.68 5.00 0.56 2.48 0.65
Ensuring that all financial and accounting transactions are recorded 4.70 5.00 0.58 0.75 0.95
Verifying the  accuracy of the accounting transactions included in the financial statements 4.66 5.00 0.64 0.70 0.95
Gathering sufficient and relevant audit evidence 4.70 5.00 0.58 3.23 0.52
Providing analytical comparisons 4.22 4.00 0.82 6.85 0.14
Matching and linking numbers contained in different records and data 4.49 5.00 0.77 2.37 0.67
Ensuring that records are available to assist in the follow-up and collection of fees and taxes 4.40 5.00 0.80 0.99 0.91

Administrative Procedures Adopted By the Audited Government Entity

The respondents were asked to specify the importance they assign to different administrative procedures available to the audited government entity. The result of their answers is given in Table 3. The table shows that the respondents assign the highest importance to availability of an organizational structure for the audited entity, ensuring that the entity covered by the audit has avoided previous mistakes and deviations, the adequacy and effectiveness of the internal control system. This result has been replicated by the reported means and medians. The respondents, however, assign low importance to administrative procedures such as checking personnel' compliance with the official time schedule, checking feedback sent to personnel and ensure that staff turnover and rotation are carried out periodically. The Kruskal Wallis test pointed to several statistically significant differences in the respondents answers concerning administrative procedures such as ensuring that the entity covered by the audit has avoided previous mistakes and deviations, ensuring that staff performance is periodically assessed, ensuring that staff are selected according to their capabilities and put in the right place and the existence of controlling and performance standards. These differences are mainly due to those who believe that these factors are either important or very important. The respondents seem to assign the highest level of importance to the audited government entity structure due to its importance in identifying responsibility and accountability. They further believe that the audited government entity should learn from previous mistakes and try to avoid them. By ensuring effective internal control system, the audited entity can monitor its performance. Following up cases related to handling public fund prevents possible fraud.

Table 3 The Importance Assigned by the Respondents to Administrative Procedures Adopted by the Audited Government Entity
  Mean Median Std. Dev. χ2 Sig.
Availability of an organizational structure for the audited entity 4.64 5.00 0.63 6.82 0.15
Ensuring that staff are selected according to their capabilities and put in the right place 4.45 5.00 0.84 9.48 0.05
The existence of controlling and performance standards 4.48 5.00 0.80 8.00 0.09
The adequacy and effectiveness internal control system 4.60 5.00 0.66 5.79 0.22
The entity covered by the audit  adopts fair and transparent incentive and punishment  system 4.27 4.00 0.89 5.17 0.27
Ensuring that staff performance is periodically assessed 4.26 5.00 0.99 11.55 0.02
Evaluating the performance of the audited entity and compare it with the expected standards 4.21 4.00 0.91 4.03 0.40
Ensuring that the entity covered by the audit has avoided previous mistakes and deviations 4.64 5.00 0.63 12.89 0.01
Ensure that staff turnover and rotation are carried out periodically 3.87 4.00 1.09 3.48 0.48
Audit managerial decisions related to public fund protection and follow up their procedures 4.50 5.00 0.74 3.33 0.50
Check employees' attendance and departure 3.79 4.00 1.13 4.47 0.35
Checking employees' compliance with the official time schedule 3.83 4.00 1.16 2.32 0.68
Check for feedback sent to employees 3.84 4.00 1.06 1.33 0.86

Legislation Procedures Adopted By the Audited Government Entities and Govern the Work of KSAB

Another important factor that would contribute to the success of the audit bureau is the legislative system set-up by the audited entity to govern its work. The respondents demonstrated that clear rules and regulations enforcement and compliance assist KSAB in monitoring government agencies functions and performance. They also assist in preventing possible corruption. It was therefore important to ask the KSAB personnel to establish the level of importance they award to various aspects of the legislative system employed by the audited government entity and regulate the work of KSAB. Analysis of their answers is given in Table 4. It can be deduced from Table 4 that submitting the AB report to the National Assembly, safety application of laws, regulations and instructions, checking that the decisions are made by the authorized people, strengthening the responsibilities and accountability power of the AB are the most important legislative factors that contribute to the success of the work of KSAB. However, the respondents attached a relatively low levels of importance to other legislative factors listed in the questionnaire such as: participation of the KSAB in the auditing and investigation committees in cooperation with the National Assembly on issues of corruption and transferring them to the judiciary, verify that recruitments were made in accordance with the stated policies and procedures in terms of advertising, competition and selection. The Kruskal Wallis test reported in Table 4 demonstrated that the respondents were consistent in their answer and no statistically significant differences detected in the respondents answers regardless of their occupation.

Table 4 The Importance Assigned by the Respondents to Legislative Procedures Adopted by the Audited Government Entity
Legislative procedures in the audited entity Mean Median Std. Dev. Chi-Square  Sig.
Availability of legal legislation 4.55 5.00 0.69 4.92 0.30
Safety application of laws, regulations and instructions 4.65 5.00 0.55 7.19 0.13
Activating Chapter Four of the Law of Establishing the Bureau related to Disciplinary Trials 4.55 5.00 0.65 4.25 0.37
Participation of the Kuwaiti Audit Bureau in audit and investigation committees in cooperation with the National Assembly on issues of corruption and transferring them to the judiciary 4.40 5.00 0.88 6.98 0.14
Verify that recruitments were made in accordance with the stated policies and procedures in terms of advertising, competition and selection 4.47 5.00 0.76 3.63 0.46
Check that the decisions are made by the authorized people 4.64 5.00 0.59 1.60 0.81
Ensuring that the appropriations and correspondence are made in accordance with the applicable legislation 4.56 5.00 0.64 2.11 0.72
Ensuring that purchases are made in accordance with applicable legislation 4.63 5.00 0.59 0.93 0.92
Verifying that the supplies management operations were in accordance with the applicable legislation 4.52 5.00 0.62 1.93 0.75
Verifying availability of financial competencies of the entities covered by the audit according to the applicable legislation 4.50 5.00 0.68 3.49 0.48
Strengthening the responsibilities and accountability power of the Audit Bureau 4.58 5.00 0.81 4.77 0.31
Submitting the Audit Bureau report to the National Assembly 4.75 5.00 0.57 1.48 0.83

Monitoring The Audited Government Entity’s Performance

As mentioned earlier, one of the main objectives of the KSAB is to protect public fund by monitoring government entities’ performance and preventing fraud. The respondents were given a list of measures that can be followed to enhance government entities performance and asked to identify the level of importance that they attach to each of them. A summary of the respondents’ answers is provided in Table 5. The respondents indicated that it is highly important to use financial resources efficiently (without dissipation) and effectively (for appropriate purposes), to use human resources effectively (the right person in the right place) and the audited government entity should achieve its objectives efficiently (according to the required quality). The respondents, however, attach lower levels of importance to monitoring performance at the planning, implementation and the follow-up stages of the auditing process as replicated by the reported means and medians. The Kruskal Wallis pointed to consensus among the respondents about all performance measures listed in the questionnaire.

Table 5 The Importance Assigned by the Respondents to Legislative Procedures Adopted by the Audited Government Entity
Monitoring performance procedures in the audited entity Mean Median Std. Dev. Chi-Square Asymp. Sig.
Realistic and achievable objectives of the entity covered by the audit 4.35 4.00 0.74 2.00 0.74
The level of performance of the audited government entity at the planning stage of the managerial audit 4.18 4.00 0.84 3.24 0.52
Effective use of financial resources (for appropriate purposes) 4.39 5.00 0.70 2.49 0.65
Use of financial resources efficiently (without dissipation) 4.44 5.00 0.69 3.34 0.50
Using of financial resources economically 4.32 5.00 0.81 1.16 0.88
Using HR effectively (appropriate place) 4.41 5.00 0.78 3.40 0.49
Using HR resources efficiently (avoiding disguised unemployment) 4.32 5.00 0.85 2.91 0.57
Using HR resources economically (acceptable salaries and wages) 4.27 4.00 0.79 5.41 0.25
The audited entity achieved its objectives effectively (on time) 4.30 4.00 0.78 0.89 0.93
The audited entity achieved its objectives efficiently (according to the required quality) 4.37 5.00 0.76 1.18 0.88
The audited entity achieved its objectives at the lowest cost 4.24 4.00 0.87 2.49 0.65
Do whatever it takes to raise performance 4.29 4.00 0.83 6.32 0.18
The level of performance of the entity covered by the audit in the stage of implementing managerial audit 4.19 4.00 0.80 7.90 0.10
The level of performance the entity covered by the audit in the follow-up phase of administrative control 4.19 4.00 0.80 2.91 0.57
Using advanced managerial auditing techniques 4.27 4.00 0.81 9.45 0.05

Conclusion

In this a study, the attempt is made to solicit KSAB personnel opinion about what should be done by the Bureau and the audited government entities to achieve the objectives of public audit. To achieve study’s objectives, during July 2018, 250 questionnaires were distributed to KSAB personnel at different managerial levels and 189 of them returned completed; resulting in 76% usable response rate. The respondents reveal that the audit process, financial and legal audit and monitoring performance are all vital to effective and efficient functioning of the KSAB. The respondents also ascertain that the auditing process ought to be planned beforehand. They further revealed that effective and efficient audit cannot be achieved without financial and accounting transactions being recorded and supported by related documentation. Recorded transaction and accounts balances ought to be checked to ensure that they are existed and they are not fake. Sufficient and relevant audit evidence must also be collected during the auditing process. According to the respondents, the effectiveness of the managerial audit is determined by the availability of an organizational structure for the audited entity to determine responsibility and accountability. Effective managerial audit also ensures that the entity covered by the audit has avoided previous mistakes and deviations and the audited government entity adopts effective internal control system.

In the respondent’s opinion, to strengthen the legal audit, it is important that the Audit Bureau submit its report to the democratically elected National Assembly. The KSA B staff must ensure safety application of laws, regulations and instructions and check whether the decisions are made in the audited government entity by the authorized people. The KSAB must be given more authoritative power to establish responsibility and accountability within the audited government entity. In motoring the audited government entity’s performance, the respondents confirmed that it is highly important to use financial resources efficiently (without dissipation) and effectively (for appropriate purposes), to use human resources effectively (the right person in the right place). In addition, the audited government entity should achieve its objectives efficiently (according to the required quality).

End Notes

1.The KSAB is established in 1964 and attached by National Assembly to achieve effective control over public funds according to the law.

References

Al-Aqarni, A. (2008). The public sector audit in Saudi Arabia: the perception of the auditors at the general auditing bureau. Public Administration, The institute of Public Administration, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 48(1), 37-68.

Al-Dahmelin, A. (2010). The influence of the audit bureau's reports on raising the efficiency and effectiveness of the internal supervision system in lending establishment. July, unpublished master dissertation in Gulf University, Kingdom of Bahrain.

Al-kaiber, M. (2013). The relevance of Jordanian Audit Bureau procedures for fighting corruption. unpublished master dissertation, Middle East University, Jordan

Alktanii, S., & Ghareebii, A. (2014). Evaluation of the quality of the internal auditing position in the public sector in Saudi Arabia: An applied study. Global Review of Accounting and Finance, 5(1), 93-106

Al-Nofaie, M. (2003). Audit profile: The general auditing bureau of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Government Auditing, 30(4), 22-24

Al-Qarioti, M. (2015). Kuwaiti audit bureau role in auditing government agencies from employees’ perspectives: An exploratory study. Journal of Business Theory and Practice, 3(1), 61-80

Al-Rahahleh, M. (2006). The role of the Jordanian audit bureau law in safeguarding public funds in the light of recent variations. Jordan Journal of Business Administration, 2(2), 182-316

Al-Rashed, W. (1999). The role of the audit bureau in safeguarding public fund in Kuwait case study. Journal of King Abdulaziz University, Economic and Administration, 13(1), 73-111

Al-Rashed, W. (2002). Kuwait audit firms problems. Journal of King Abdul Aziz University, Economics and Administration, 16(2), 103-132

Alshboul, A., & Alrabba, H. (2014). Evaluating the effectiveness of analytical tools of the Jordanian audit bureau in detecting accounting fraud. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 5(11), 203-208

Alzeban, A., & Sawan, N. (2013). The role of internal audit function in the public sector context in Saudi Arabia. African Journal of Business Management, 7(6), 443-454.

Alzebana, A., & Gwilliamba, D. (2014). Factors affecting the internal audit effectiveness: A survey of the Saudi public sector. Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, 23, 74–86.

Anonymous, (1981). Audit profile: Central auditing organization of Egypt. International Journal of Government Auditing, 8(1), 17

Anonymous, (1987). Audit profile: State of Kuwait. International Journal of Government Auditing, 14(3), 11-12

Anonymous, (1995). Audit profile: central auditing organization of Egypt. International Journal of Government Auditing, 22(3), 16-17

Aragón, A. (2009). Case study: societal perceptions of the superior audit office of Mexico. International Journal of Government Auditing, 36(2), 15-17

Badara, M. (2012). The role of internal auditors in ensuring effective financial control at local government; The case of Alkalero L.G.A. Research Journal of Finance and Accounting, 3(4), 57-65

Dabbas, H. (1986). Audit profile- the audit bureau of Jordan. International Journal of Government Auditing, 13(3), 21

Djatmiati, T., Eman, S., Eman, S., & Santoso, U. (2014) Transparency and accountability in the finance management of the local government in promoting good governance. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 19(9), 15-19.

Faqeeh, O. (2010). The role of the general auditing bureau of Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Government Auditing, 37(1), 20-23

Farawanh, R. (2011). Evaluation and development of the control role of the state audit and administrative control bureau control on the performance of the Palestinian Universities: An Empirical study, unpublished master dissertation, Al-Azhar University Gaza, Palestine

Gillespie, D., & Al-Hazmi, I. (1985). Developing a computer auditing capability in Saudi Arabia's General Audit Bureau, International Journal of Government Auditing, 12(3), 7-8

Ja'arah, O.; Ma'ali, B., & Ka'beer, M. (2015). Measuring appropriateness of procedures of the Jordanian audit bureau to the efforts of anti- corruption (A prospective study in the Jordanian audit bureau). Dirasat Administrative Sciences, 4(2), 473-492

Masood, A., & Lodhi, R. (2015). Factors affecting the success of government audits: A case study of Pakistan. Universal Journal of Management, 3(2), 52-62.

Ng’eni, F. (2016).  Theoretical aspects underpinning public sector audit and financial accountability in Tanzanian local government authorities (LGAs). International Journal of Finance and Accounting, 5(1), 46-53.

Onatuyeh, E., & Aniefor, S. (2013). Impact of effective internal audit functions on public sector management and accountability in Edo state Nigeria.  International Journal of Economic Development Research and Investments, 4(3), 91-103

Shariha, J. (2014). The role of audit bureau in eradicating financial corruption in Libya. Jurnal Akuntansi Multiparadigma, 5(1), 18-28.

Shariha, J., Djamhuri, A., & Kamayanti, A. (2014). The role of audit bureau in eradicating financial corruption in Libya. International Refereed Journal of Engineering and Science, 3(10), 1-5

Shatnawi, F. and Hatamleh, S. (2015). The relationship between the House of Representatives and the audit bureau. Dirasat: Shari'a and Law Science, 42(1), 61-78.

Yang, S., Xiao, J., & Pendlebury, M. (2008). Government auditing in China: Problems and reform. Advances in Accounting, 24 (1), 119-127.

Wang, X. (2002). Assessing administrative accountability: results from a national survey. The American Review of Public Administration, 32(3), 350- 370.