The Northern Ireland Audit Office has announced that it has secured funding from the Small Business Research Initiative to move to the next phase of its data analytics challenge to ‘develop a data enabled financial audit approach’.
This is the latest milestone in the NIAO’s data analytics project, which was launched in September 2018. The NIAO had initially secured funding from the Cabinet Office’s GovTech Catalyst fund, allowing it to challenge private sector firms to develop a data enabled public sector audit approach. The aim of the challenge is to help make better use of data to improve the efficiency of audit.
In April 2019, five companies were appointed to undertake research and development as part of phase one of the project. Later that year, it was confirmed that the Value for Money audit element of the project would phase two, with GovTech providing access to further funding.
This latest announcement means that the NIAO can also move to phase two of the financial audit side of the challenge.
Welcoming this development, NIAO Chief Operating Officer Pamela McCreedy commented:
“We are delighted and excited to move to this next stage of our project to deliver a more data enabled approach to public sector audit. As an office we are committed to embracing new innovations and opportunities offered by the latest technology. While we have access to a wide range of data from financial management systems, we want to better harness this data and use it to its full potential. That is our aim as move into this new phase. We look forward to collaborating with our private sector suppliers and other public audit agencies as we take this exciting work forward.”