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This Annual Report completes the accountability cycle that began when the Office tabled its 2023 Business and Financial Plan in December 2021.
2023 was a challenging year for the Office. The Office achieved seven of its 12 performance targets in 2022–23.
We worked hard to meet the needs of legislators and the public for information about government programs and services. The Standing Committees on Public Accounts’ and Crown and Central Agencies’ high rate of agreement with our audit recommendations shows the recommendations we make reflect areas that are important to improve public sector management. Through our 2022 Report – Volumes 1 and 2, the Office gave legislators and the public the results of quality, relevant audits. These Reports contained the results of the annual integrated audits of over 260 different agencies, 11 performance audits, and 32 follow-up audits. The Government’s implementation of audit recommendations also shows the Office’s work contributed to better management in the public sector.
A key challenge for the Office continues to be the higher than anticipated turnover of qualified CPAs and performance auditors. The market for CPAs and those training to become professional accountants remains very competitive. Through increased hiring efforts this year, we were able to staff several positions that were vacant at the end of the prior year. As an Office, we continue to focus on varied recruitment, retention, and succession planning efforts to effectively manage staff departures and retirements.
Given the increase in the number of new staff hired throughout the year, the need for ongoing training, supervision, and coaching was critical to ensure the quality of our work remained high. We were not always able to provide agencies with their reports by agreed upon deadlines; however, key deadlines such as delivering our audit opinion on the Government’s Summary Financial Statements were met. We continue to provide this audit opinion in June each year ahead of most Canadian legislative auditors. We could not have done this without the great support we received from auditees along with our professional and engaged staff. We also prioritized our work to make sure we provided legislators with timely audited financial information, as required by law, for the vast majority of government agencies we audit.
The Office always manages its finances carefully. The unqualified independent external audit reports on the key aspects of the Office’s operations, finances, and controls gives legislators and the public confidence in the reliability of the Office’s administration. This Annual Report also includes further details on the Office’s operational and financial performance for the year ended March 31, 2023.
In closing, I appreciate the cooperation and support of legislators, government officials, and appointed auditors. In particular, I thank the Standing Committee on Public Accounts for its attention to and support of the Office’s work. Its thorough public review of our Reports helps to ensure the work of the Office makes a difference.