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    Old and new challenges for the auditor system in Ciego de Ávila

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    Viejos y nuevos retos para el sistema de auditores en Ciego de Ávila

    Against quarantines, remote work and mobility restrictions, the Provincial Comptroller's Office in Ciego de Ávila managed to carry out 60% of the controls planned in 2021, the most complex year in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

    That percentage means having completed 68 of the 113 planned inspections. In addition, it showed that the epidemic did not stop bad behavior in economic-accounting environments in the territory. Of the total number of audits, 15 of them were evaluated as deficient and bad.

    The economic damage caused by the alleged criminal detected acts amounted to 71.5 million pesos and the deficiencies, listed by the Balance Report corresponding to 2021 of the Provincial Comptroller —presented by Odalys Marta Ordaz García, Provincial Chief Comptroller—, are repeated from year to year.

    Not even the first period of the Planning Task took out of the equation the breaches of legal formalities and the clauses of contracts already signed; errors in the preparation of the primary documents of Inventories, Fixed Assets, Investments; shortages and surpluses in inventories; improper payments; aged and undocumented accounts receivable and payable; among other deficiencies identified.

    Those attending the balance - chaired by Reynol Pérez Fonticoba, deputy comptroller general of the Republic – argued about another important issue. How administrations and auditors are not still completely familiar with the document in more than a year after the implementation of the new Cuban Accounting Standards, so that the first ones do not execute them and the second ones are not fully capable of controlling them.

    Likewise, it was agreed that there is a lack of advice, supervision and control by the higher levels of the entities, which, together with the administrative and accounting lack of managenet, and the insufficient preparation of the accounting personnel, result in the non-observance of the current legislation, including the Resolution 60 of 2011 of the Comptroller General of the Republic.

    Juana Jiménez Gutiérrez, auditor of the National Office of Tax Administration, commented on the deadlines set for the execution of tax audits, who considered very little the time established to cover the analysis of up to five years of accounting activity in an entity. In this regard, Reynol Pérez specified that, when necessary, more time should be requested. “For complying with the plan, an audit cannot be left halfway. Quality before quantity”.

    The highly experienced professor Antonio Sánchez Sibello, head of Staff Preparation and Improvement at the University of Ciego de Ávila, said that the training problems regarding Cuban standards begin in university education and are then observed at all levels. All this, even when since June 2021 Agreement 9041 was adopted in the Council of Ministers, aimed at strengthening accounting in the country's entities.

    If a control institution should not suffer the impacts of incomplete staff and lack of material resources, it should be the Central Internal Audit Unit (UCAI) attached to the provincial government, but its Supervisor Adrián Nieto Gutiérrez explained the main obstacles to commission his equipment. He was emphatic when referring to the exodus of auditors, caused more than by the lack of working conditions (computers, offices, means of transportation), but by the scant attention they receive from higher authorities.

    “We have had situations where plans of measures are not drawn up based on the controls, or the term established by law to apply administrative sanctions is expected to expire. In short, the work of the auditors is not valued,” he said.

    A circumstance different from that of the Comcávila company, according to the auditor that represents it, and also from the Delegation of Agriculture, where, however, companies under its jurisdiction have reduced the number of auditors. On this last point, the Vice Comptroller General of the Republic was emphatic in pointing out that Decree 53 of the Council of Ministers, published in the Official Gazette in September 2021, does not establish the elimination of the auditor as part of the prerogatives granted to the business system to determine your salary organization.

    “When something like this happens, you always have to discuss it. How can a company director afford to eliminate the position of auditor?” he pointed out.

    In the aftermath of the work meeting, Odalys Ordaz called for achieving the highest quality in the special reports to avoid returns. In this sense, she explained, a quality control group was created that will review all the documents, prior to the discussion with the entities.

    For his part, Reynol Pérez Fonticoba, recognizing that not all auditing teams are in the same condition from the material point of view, called for more use of information technology and programs developed specifically for the activity. He considered low the alleged criminal acts detected and recommended putting in the center of attention those companies with losses or overachievement of profits.

    Among the work projections for 2022, the Provincial Comptroller's Office plans to increase the completion of the auditor templates in all structures, continue training and promote the self-improvement of auditors, as well as the supervision of compliance with the Cuban Audit Accounting Standards.