Strengthening managerial accountability at all levels of the public sector is a strategic goal for the further development of internal control and audit

On February 28, the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, with support from the EU4PFM Project, hosted a conference titled “Public Internal Financial Control: Perspectives for the Future.”

This hybrid event gathered over 130 heads of internal audit departments of central and regional level in offline and online format. The event was the first of such kind in several years. It gave the participants the opportunity to learn and discuss about current challenges in public internal financial control (PIFC) in the Ukrainian public sector and how these challenges affect the development of the internal audit function.

The conference was also attended by Denys Uliutin, First Deputy Minister of Finance of Ukraine, Stefan Schleuning, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Alastair Swarbrick, Professional Team Lead on Public Financial Management of the OECD/SIGMA Programme, Manfred van Kesteren, EU4PFM International Expert on PIFC, as well as representatives from the EU4PFM Programme, the Central Harmonization Unit of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, the Ministry of Finance of the Netherlands, the European Delegation to Ukraine, and the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).

The event aimed to engage Ukrainian internal audit representatives in discussions concerning the results of SIGMA’s assessment report on the principles of public administration in Ukraine of which PIFC is one of the key elements. Also, future steps to enhance internal audit and control within the country were discussed. Additionally, international experts introduced participants to the new International Standards on Internal Auditing developed by the Global Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).

Discussions also explored the challenges and opportunities for Ukraine’s internal audit function in light of the country’s EU candidate status, particularly within the framework of the negotiations related to  Chapter 32 of the acquis communautaire– Financial Control.

In the welcoming speech, the First Deputy Minister of Finance, Denys Uliutin, noted: “In the context of Ukraine’s acquisition of EU candidate status, the further development of PIFC, particularly its internal audit functions, has become increasingly relevant. Consequently, the past few years have seen a launch of the reform of the PIFC system in Ukraine, aligning it with internationally recognized standards and methodologies, as well as EU best practices regarding internal control and internal audit in state bodies. These best practices serve as the foundation of good governance and act as a guideline and signpost for the development of the Ukrainian PIFC system.”

The First Deputy also noted that reforming PIFC is not enough; managers must also understand that internal audit is a high-quality tool and an important part of supporting the management process.

In turn, Stefan Schleuning, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Ukraine, stressed the critical role of a robust PIFC in fostering transparency, accountability, and good governance. He emphasised the significance of alignment with Chapter 32 for demonstrating Ukraine’s commitment to sound financial practices and integrating with EU norms. He further stated that strong PIFC acts as a shield against corruption, financial mismanagement, and fraud.

Alastair Swarbrick from the OECD/SIGMA reinforced the link between PIFC development and EU accession. He emphasised the role of PIFC in strengthening public administration through improved internal control and decision-making support for managers. Additionally, he highlighted the crucial function of internal audit in providing independent assurance and guidance on governance, risk management, and compliance.

The conference culminated in outlining future PIFC initiatives:

This conference served as a pivotal step in advancing Ukraine’s PIFC system by facilitating experience and best practice exchange among internal audit leaders. It also helped determine future strategies for solidifying public internal financial control in Ukraine.