The Association of Pacific Islands Public Auditors (APIPA) completed its 32nd annual conference, held virtually from August 23 to September 3, 2021. The conference was funded through the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs technical assistance program and provided by the Graduate School USA’s Pacific and Virgin Islands Training Initiatives.
American Samoa hosted the virtual conference. A welcoming ceremony, streamed live from the Governor’s Office in Pago Pago, included a choir performance and speeches from officials. Acting Governor of American Samoa Talauega E. V. Ale spoke to the importance of governance and transparency during the pandemic—and after. Representing the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, Director of Technical Assistance Charlene Leizear added Interior’s welcome to the conference, pointing to the many time zones and governments represented by conference attendees and the need for continued focus on accountability across the region. American Samoa’s Acting Territorial Auditor Tofa Sualauvi H. Su’a welcomed attendees, stressing the unique nature of the conference, as well as the many opportunities it presents for professional growth.
"Our accountability profession needs to maintain its core competence as we serve our public and serve our governments.”
-Acting Territorial Auditor, Tofa Sualauvi H. Su'a
APIPA 2021 provided training for auditing and financial accountability officials. Participants were given the opportunity to receive up to 40 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) credits, required by government auditing standards for auditors to maintain their professional competency. Twenty-four (24) two-hour and four-hour courses were delivered during the conference as plenary sessions and in Audit and Finance tracks.
The 2021 APIPA Conference showed excellent attendance, with 689 participants joining courses. During the sessions, participants expanded their skills in government auditing and financial standards, audit report writing, grants management, leadership, risk, and internal controls. In total, 5,680 course certificates were awarded for 16,606 credit hours.
The insular area government officials participating in this year’s virtual conference came from American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawai’i, Fiji, and the Independent State of Samoa. Representatives from the FSM came from the national government and each of its four states—Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap.
A closing plenary focused on recent audit findings and recommendations from island government audit offices, featuring ten reports ranging from COVID assistance to public utilities and from trust funds to passport issuance. Eleven instructors led training sessions throughout the conference week: Margie Bastolla, Michael Binder, Frank Crawford, Mark Funkhouser, Drummond Kahn, Kip Memmott, Christopher Pembrook, Martin Ruben, David Rykken, Elizabeth Schubert, and Jeanne Yamamura. The public auditors are planning to host the 33rd annual APIPA Conference during the summer of 2022. Conference dates and venue will be shared as the meeting approaches.