Paperless Government: What Internal Audit Needs to Know
Government organizations are “going paperless” to keep pace with our advancing digital world and to promote more efficient operations. Digitization projects, and projects involving digitization processes, are increasingly relevant for internal auditors, particularly in the public sector.
In the federal government, a new service model and directive will soon take place that require records of enduring value to be stored electronically. This direction, as well as interest in reducing paper document retention and in automating processes, is resulting in large-scale document imaging.
At the same time, electronic records produced, maintained and managed by all levels of government – from policing to taxes to provincial and federal benefits programs – may need to be produced in legal proceedings. As such, certain standards for the creation and management of electronic records need to be applied. In particular, when moving from paper to electronic format, preserving the authenticity of the document is essential – both for business reasons and to conform with applicable Canadian General Standards Boards (CGSB) standards, which are expected to change in 2017.
As organizations evolve their environments to becoming increasingly digitized, internal audit can play an essential role of identifying and assuring key requirements. Electronic document management is no exception. Before paper is destroyed, internal auditors can play a key role in examining opportunities for workflow efficiencies, information management (including security) and conformance with legal requirements for evidentiary evidence.
This session will address the theme of “The Climate of Change: Exploring the Opportunities” by addressing some of the opportunities for internal audit to provide timely value when organizations are shifting to the “paperless” promise. We will explore a case study from the federal government, focusing on Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), which provides imaging services to many government departments and agencies. PSPC has established a horizontal assurance framework to inform government clients and support Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) conformance audits, and will share lessons learned for internal auditors to consider in their role as advisor and auditor.