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IAD at Work

The Internal Audit Division (IAD) currently has approximately 90 auditees comprising of the United Nations Secretariat, five regional commissions, select Funds and Programmes and other United Nations entities. With effect from 2008, its annual audit work plan, which details the audit assignments that would be conducted each year, was developed primarily based on the results of risk assessments, while taking into consideration requests from the General Assembly and other relevant factors. Risk assessment involves identifying potential events or actions which may adversely affect the United Nations' ability to achieve its organizational objectives or execute its strategies successfully. It includes assessing the likelihood of such events or actions occurring and the impact they would have if they occur. IAD adopts this approach when developing its annual work plan as it enables the Division to direct audit resources at areas that pose the greatest risk to the achievement of the Organization's objectives.

IAD has conducted over 50 risk assessments since August 2007. The risk assessments were conducted through interviews and workshops with programme managers and their staff. Although the high risk areas varied from one department/entity to another, the risk assessments generally showed that the highest risks to the Organization were in the areas of (i) programme and project management, (ii) strategic management and governance, (iii) human resources management and (iv) procurement and contract administration. Areas of medium risk were (i) financial management, (ii) information and communications technology management, (iii) logistics management and (iv) property and facilities management. IAD has identified 983 audit assignments that it will conduct during the period 2008 to 2010 and beyond which would focus on these risk areas.

Since 2002, IAD has completed 737 assignments and made more than 8,100 recommendations to address weaknesses identified during its audits. IAD also identified cost savings and recoveries of over $200 million, 50 per cent of which have been realized. The areas with the most recommendations are programme and project management, overall administration and management, procurement and contracts management, and human resources management. IAD's effectiveness can be determined by the rate of implementation of its recommendations. As of 30 June 2008, 75 per cent of all recommendations have been implemented and 16 per cent were in the process of being implemented. Only two per cent of the recommendations were not accepted by programme managers.

IAD recently revised its Internal Audit Manual and also streamlined its audit management process. This was necessary due to the merger of the previously two separate internal audit divisions, the need to harmonize divergent audit procedures and practices and to ensure better compliance with the internal auditing standards. The revised manual further clarifies IAD's policies and procedures and provides improved guidance and tools to implement them. The electronic audit working papers system is currently being re-customized to bring it in line with the revised manual and the revised audit management process.