Experientia Mutua Omnibus Prodest (Mutual Experience Benefits All)

The wonderfully named International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) is a worldwide affiliation of Auditors General, Comptrollers Generals and other similar roles of nation states.

It is open to all Supreme Audit Institutions of sovereign states that are members of the United Nations.  It was founded in INTOSAI was founded in 1953 in Havana, Cuba.

Thirty-four audit organizations formed the group originally.

As of 2010 the current membership includes 193 institutions (188 national institutions, the European Court of Auditors and 4 associated members).  INTOSAI is the second largest international organization following the United Nations.

Last week, from October 21 to 26, 2013, the XXI INCOSAI (INTOSAI’s congress convened every three years) was held in Beijing, China.

This important event coincided with the 60th anniversary of INTOSAI and the 50th anniversary of its General Secretariat headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

This anniversary year gave  INTOSAI the chance to reflect on its journey through the collation of a wonderful dossier of the history of Supreme Audit Institutions, the history of INTOSAI and the history of each State institution with INTOSAI.

The reflection is an extraordinarily brilliant look at the world of independent assurance through the eyes of the respective Supreme Audit Institutions.

The Secretary General of INTOSAI, Josef Moser, notes in his introduction:

Like already 60 years ago, Supreme Audit Institutions from all regions of the world also meet today in the spirit of INTOSAI’s motto Experientia Mutua Omnibus Prodest (Mutual Experience Benefits All) to exchange experience and to learn from each other, thereby contributing substantively to enhancing the effectiveness of each member’s activities.

For audit pays off.

The approach was – and still is 20 congresses later – to find partners, to pool efforts and to harness the combined strength to learn from each other, to exchange knowledge and experience, to define best practice cases and to act accordingly in order to rise to the different challenges in government audit.

In the congress documents of the I INCOSAI in 1953, the basic congress principles outlined the following: “In addition to strengthening international relations, the central goal of this congress is to exchange experience and to discuss all issues that specifically concern the participating Supreme Audit Institutions, like for example issues relating to constitutional inclusion, organization, functions, independence, budget etc. by taking into consideration best practice examples of the participating institutions.”

The lessons learnt from the experience of INTOSAI are therefore relevant to every audit team – government, corporate or otherwise.

Experientia Mutua Omnibus Prodest.

Mutual Experience Benefits All.

Indeed.

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