Contribution of record-keeping to audit opinions: An informetrics analysis of the general reports on audit outcomes of the Auditor-General of South Africa
At the end of every audit cycle the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) publishes consolidated general reports on audit outcomes (GRAOs) for all municipalities, government departments and public entities. GRAOs of AGSA identify broad themes (e.g. document management, asset management, risk management, etc) and highlight specific trends that were detected during an audit cycle. These reports induce discourse on the audit findings. This article partly reports on the findings of a doctoral research project (Ngoepe 2012) aimed at developing a framework for embedding the records management function into the auditing process. In this study a total of 15 Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) GRAOs for the 2005/06 to 2009/10 financial years were reviewed using an informetric content analysis to identify the types of audit opinions issued, the frequency and contextual usage of the keyword “record” and its contribution to the audit opinion. The study revealed that the root cause of qualified and adverse audit opinions was in most cases a lack of proper record-keeping. In addition, auditors had to contend with delays or government bodies' inability to provide records, which lead to disclaimer opinions. The study recommends that records management should be embedded into the auditing process of governmental bodies. It is concluded that government bodies will continue to obtain disclaimer opinions and that government's 2014 clean audit target will remain a mere mirage if this is not implemented.