Contribution of records management to audit opinions and accountability in government

2020-06-14T10:54:53Z (GMT) by Rodreck David
Background: Auditing can support national democratic processes, national development and government good will. Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI), such as offices of Auditor General, publish consolidated reports on audit outcomes for local authorities, government departments, parastatals and related public entities. These reports identify broad areas analysed during audit exercises that often include financial management, governance, asset management, risk management, revenue collection and debt recovery. They highlight trends that were detected during audit exercises at the end of a financial year. The reports further show how records and records management affect audit exercises as well as financial management within the audited institutions.Objectives: The intention of the research was to ascertain the contribution of records management to audit opinions and accountability in financial management in Zimbabwean government entities.Method: A document analysis of Comptroller and Auditor General of Zimbabwe (CAGZ)’s reports was used to identify the types of decisions and recommendations (audit opinions) issued, in juxtaposition to the records management issues raised.Results and Conclusion: This study shows that there is a strong correlation between records management concerns and audit opinions raised by the CAGZ’s narrative audit reports. Inadequate records management within government entities was associated with adverse and qualified opinions and, in some cases, unqualified opinions that had emphases of matter. There was a causal loop in which lack of documentary evidence of financial activities was the source cause of poor accounting and poor audit reports. Errors resulting from incomplete or inaccurate records meant that government entities were not showing a true picture of their financial status and their financial statements could be materially misstated. As an important monitoring and control system, records management should be integrated into the accounting and auditing processes of government entities.