DailyPost 2715

Is public audit the need of the hour? Have all the different methodologies of audit and levels of it, been able to deliver a clean, neat and progressive system as is expected out of it. Or is it mostly a financial administration ritual which has to be necessarily gone through? What have the compliances delivered: a better procurement mechanism or a better accounting procedure or a better project management or a qualitatively better accounting, which does not allow for causal flaws or allow hidden agendas to be camouflaged. Whether the government is interested in Public Audit or not is a different issue, there is no denying the fact that it would serve the real purpose of audit.

When we talk of any infrastructure to support a new administrative requirement, we generally, talk of offices and buildings, the necessary staff and officers, periodicity and processes and the expenditure involved. The world is changing rapidly however much we deny and defy that change. If public audit were to start some expert auditors with immense experience, ready to serve the nation from outside, civil society leaders who want to make change happen and technologists who can provide facilitation need to come together. So, what we need is a clear-cut purpose, a methodology, out of the world expertise and modern tech infra and a mechanism to support.

What is most critical to achieve this objective in today’s world, would be a robust tech platform and a software ideally suited for it. Given the current developments machine learning and artificial intelligence need to be necessarily propelling it. The training of the AI model for this specific use case has to be specific and goal oriented and should be tested through the whole process at different milestones, whether it is delivering as intended. The whole world of public information (multimedia) pertaining to the area under study, would go through the deep learning model, to achieve its objective.

The auditors would keep gleaning the results as per the business and domain process, they would have provided for. There would be a likelihood of the model coming up with new connects and logic which the human auditor would have never thought of. Based on the audit process logic and findings asked for, these data guzzling machines can do magic in no time. Huge amount of information and connected documents can be crowd sourced depending on the availability and requirements. It can come through anonymous channels well; the technology would very easily provide for it. Any cross checking with the outside world on any number of data points as warranted, can be done in a jiffy, if the model has been trained so. Over a period of time, it could turn out to be the ultimate audit tool.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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