The Australian National Audit Office
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The Auditor‑General is assisted by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in delivering against the mandate established by Auditor-General Act 1997.
The purpose of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is to improve public sector performance and support accountability and transparency in the Australian Government sector through independent reporting to the Parliament, the Executive and the public.
The Executive is accountable to Parliament for its use of public resources and the administration of legislation passed by the Parliament. The Auditor-General scrutinises and provides independent assurance as to whether the Executive is operating and accounting for its performance in accordance with Parliament’s purpose.
The Australian National Audit Office
The ANAO's primary client is the Australian Parliament. Its purpose is to provide the Parliament with an independent assessment of selected areas of public administration, and assurance about public sector financial reporting, administration, and accountability. It does this primarily by conducting performance audits, financial statement audits, performance statement audits (on request), and assurance reviews. Another approach that the ANAO uses to engage with the Parliament is briefing Parliamentarians and Parliamentary Committees, on request, about audits and audit related services.
The ANAO has extensive powers of access to documents and information, and its work is governed by its auditing standards, which adopt the standards applied by the auditing profession in Australia. For more information regarding how the ANAO conducts audits see the audit process.
The ANAO adopts a consultative approach to its forward audit program, which has regard to the priorities of the Parliament, as advised by the JCPAA; the views of entities and other stakeholders. Audit coverage is also based on a consideration of the potential benefit or impact of an audit. The program aims to provide a broad coverage of areas of public administration that are selected using a risk-based approach. The final audit program is determined by the Auditor-General.
The ANAO is located in Canberra and employs approximately 330 staff. ANAO staff come from a range of disciplines. Many ANAO staff have commerce, accounting, finance or economics qualifications, but many also come from other disciplines, including arts, public administration, management, law, social sciences and information technology.
The ANAO’s work is also governed by auditing standards established by the Auditor‑General, which incorporate the standards made by the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board as applied by the auditing profession in Australia. In accordance with these standards, performance audits and financial statements audits are designed to provide a reasonable level of assurance. A number of reports, including the annual Defence Major Projects Report, provide a more limited level of assurance.
The ANAO aims to deliver an integrated program of high‑quality audit reports that are timely, cost‑effective and conducted in accordance with the ANAO’s Auditing Standards. Through this program, the ANAO aims to meet the needs and expectations of stakeholders including the Parliament, the Government, audited entities and the community and to add value to public sector performance, accountability and transparency.
The ANAO upholds the Australian Public Service (APS) values as set out in the Public Service Act 1999. In addition to the APS values, the ANAO places particular focus on respect, integrity and excellence—values that align with the APS values and address the unique aspects of the ANAO’s business and operating environment. The ANAO’s values guide the office in performing its role objectively, with impartiality and in the best interests of the Parliament, the Executive and the public.
The ANAO is organised into four functional areas:
- Assurance Audit Services Group (AASG) provides independent assurance on the financial statements and financial administration of all Australian Government entities. It also conducts assurance reviews;
- Performance Audit Services Group (PASG) contributes to improved public sector administration and accountability by conducting performance audits of Australian Government entities, a number of assurance reviews, and producing related publications;
- Professional Services and Relationships Group (PSRG) provides technical accounting, audit and legal advice and support to the audit services groups and the Auditor-General, establishes, manages and monitors the implementation of the quality assurance framework and manages the organisations external relations; and
- Corporate Management Branch (CMB) is an enabling branch that provides organisation-wide support services for the ANAO, based on specialised knowledge, best practices and technology. Services include human resource management; financial management; information technology and security; communications (including corporate strategy and change); and accommodation support, which are designed to assist and enable the delivery of our purpose and audit outcomes.