Guam's Office of Public Accountability (OPA) passed its current external quality control review on December 10, 2021. The review included a week of on-site assessment and analysis by a team of audit professionals representing the Association of Pacific Island Public Auditors (APIPA) through member public audit offices from the Republic of Palau and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Mr, Nino Tewid, Palau's Acting Public Auditor, served as the team leader, and Ms. Kina Peter, the CNMI Public Auditor, Mr. Joaquin Borja, and Mr. Joshua Diaz of the CNMI served as team members. Mr. Drummond Kahn of the Graduate School USA's Pacific and Virgin Islands Training Initiatives served as technical advisor.
After preliminary assessments, reviews of Guam OPA's manuals and policies, an in-depth look at Guam OPA staff and management training and development, interviews with management and staff, and a "deep dive" to review seven audit projects in detail, the team concluded that Guam OPA passed its peer review—assigning Guam OPA the highest category of peer review assessment. In the team's letter to Guam OPA, which was copied to Guam's Governor and Speaker, Mr. Tewid wrote that the review team found Guam OPA's system of quality control "was adequately designed and operating effectively to provide reasonable assurance of compliance with Government Auditing Standards."
All audit offices following Government Auditing Standards need to have an external quality control review (called a "peer review") every three years. Due to the global pandemic, the U.S. Government Accountability Office provided APIPA the ability to extend the original deadlines for peer reviews. Guam's December review falls well within the extended deadline, allowing Guam OPA to continue to report that it conducts its work in accordance with Government Auditing Standards.
The Standards help assure that audit reports can be relied on by funding authorities as well as oversight and accountability organizations. Guam Public Auditor Benjamin J.F. Cruz expressed his appreciation for the review team's time and effort, thanking the team and APIPA. PITI-VITI provides technical assistance to APIPA peer review teams and looks forward to continuing its involvement as APIPA completes its current peer review cycle.