As Chef de Division des entreprises publiques et parapubliques (Assistant Auditor General in charge of public enterprises), Pauline Kane Fortune is a leader at the Contrôle Supérieur de l'État, the supreme audit institution (SAI) of Cameroon.
The 2005-2006 graduate of the CCAF Fellowship now oversees the audit program for all public enterprises in the country. For each audit, she selects the audit team, defines the audit scope, supervises the team's work, reviews the audit findings and the draft report, and prepares the final report. She is also assisting with the development of the SAI's strategic plan and has served as a director of training for the office.
With her excellent auditing and leadership skills and her dedication to the success of her office, Pauline's work is greatly appreciated by the head of the SAI, Minister Siegfried David Etame Massoma. Pauline told CCAF that he often says, "When I give a job to Pauline, I can sleep," because he knows that he does not need to worry about whether or not the job will be done well.
Pauline's contributions to the accountability process of her country have not only been recognized by the head of her SAI, but also by the Republic of Cameroon: In 2010, she was named a Chevalier de l'ordre de la valeur, a national honour that is awarded by the President of Cameroon in a special ceremony each Independence Day. Minister Etame Massoma nominated Pauline for this honour. A committee reviews the nominees and selects the winners based on what they have done for the country.
Pauline is also a leader within CREFIAF (Conseil Régional de Formation des Institutions Supérieures de Contrôle des Finances Publiques d'Afrique Francophone Subsaharienne), the INTOSAI regional association of French-speaking African SAIs. Audits she has completed have been presented as examples for other SAIs in the region to follow when conducting similar audits. And at the moment, she is part of a five-person team developing a CREFIAF performance audit manual and working to harmonize performance audit practices among CREFIAF members. Pauline will also adapt this common CREFIAF manual in order to produce a performance audit manual tailored for the Cameroon office.
This project brought Pauline to Ottawa this spring to work with staff at the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) of Canada. Pauline was here to learn how the OAG of Canada puts its performance audit manual into practice and to consult with Canadian mentors on a pilot audit she is conducting. The pilot audit, on an enterprise that provides employment services, will serve to test the new performance audit manual, ensuring that it is practical and identifying any problems.
During her visit to Ottawa, CCAF had the opportunity to meet with Pauline to hear about her accomplishments since her Fellowship and the many improvements taking place at her office.
Putting her Fellowship Learning into Practice
Pauline completed her Fellowship placement with an audit team at the OAG of Canada responsible for Heritage Canada. She has been very successful in applying what she learned through her Fellowship to improve practices in her office, and has said that her experience in the CCAF Program "greatly contributed to my personal development and that of my SAI."
The implementation of her Fellowship Strategy Paper, titled L'identification and l'évaluation des risques en vérification (identification and evaluation of risks in auditing), has made a remarkable impact in her office. One of the principal elements of her strategy was the adoption of one-pass planning, based on the method she observed and practiced in her audit team placement with the OAG of Canada. Pauline says that before she implemented her Strategy Paper, "our annual audit program was not based on a rational methodology. It was difficult to explain why we chose to audit this organization instead of that one. By implementing the one-pass plan based on risk assessment of the entities, we now program our annual audit without difficulties. This new way of selecting audits is the pride of our office."
When she was a director of training—from the time she returned home in 2006 until her promotion to Assistant Auditor General in 2009—Pauline led several training sessions on one-pass planning to share this knowledge throughout the organization. And she continues to use one-pass planning in her current position, where she is responsible for determining which of Cameroon's 160 public enterprises to audit.
Pauline has also successfully applied and shared the leadership and management skills she developed through the Fellowship. As Assistant Auditor General, these skills help her select and oversee the audit teams for the audits of all public enterprises. As well, shortly after her return home from Canada, she identified a way such skills could improve the working relationships between SAI staff, and thereby improve the work of the office. Pauline suggested that senior auditors receive training in leadership and team management skills. This training quickly produced results: "We noticed that after the training, positive results of audit missions increased," Pauline explained.
Pauline also told CCAF of the benefit of having multiple graduate Fellows at her office. Her colleague, Laurentine Ngwu, participated in the Fellowship in 2006-2007. Pauline says that they are able to support each other and help to build approval and buy-in at the office for each other's ideas.
Laurentine is successfully applying her Fellowship learning as well. After preparing her Strategy Paper on forensic auditing, she has become a leader in that area. She is now Chef de Section des Études et des Statistiques au Conseil de discipline budgétaire et financière (Section head in charge of statistics and studies at the SAI's Council of Budgetary and Financial Discipline), and has also been asked by CONAC (Commission nationale anti-corruption), the national organization in charge of fighting corruption, to help them in conducting investigations and teaching methodologies to their staff.
Sharing her Advice and Experience with the Newest Graduates
While Pauline was in Ottawa this May, she accepted an invitation from CCAF to address the 2010-2011 Fellows at their graduation ceremony.
In her speech she discussed the mixed feelings that Fellows may have about reaching the end of their time in Canada. She remembered: "Five years ago, I was in their position, happy of what I had learned, happy because I was returning home after nine months, but somewhat sad because I was leaving new friends and anxious because I did not know how the management staff of my office was going to welcome my propositions."
She told the Fellows that all of these feelings are normal. Her advice to them is to be positive.
Pauline also shared examples of her own success in implementing her Fellowship learning—both auditing methodologies and leadership and management skills—to illustrate the possibilities that lie ahead for the new graduates.
Following the graduation ceremony, the 2010-2011 Fellows remarked how beneficial and inspirational it was for them to hear from Pauline. She and the new graduates will keep in touch to continue sharing advice and experiences.
At the graduation, Pauline also thanked the organizations that made her participation in the Fellowship possible, saying, "On this occasion, I would like to thank again and again CIDA, the OAG of Canada and CCAF for all they have done for me."
CCAF is looking forward to continuing its partnership with the SAI of Cameroon and will welcome another Fellow from Cameroon for the 2011-2012 year. The Fellow will undertake his placement with the Vérificateur général du Québec.
It is an exciting time to work with the SAI as it is taking many steps towards improvement and modernization. Pauline described how Minister Etame Massoma is very open to new ideas and wants to modernize the office, and she said that he "has given the office a boost." She told CCAF that he is always looking to learn from other SAIs when he attends international events. Changes the Minister and the SAI have implemented over the last few years include building new office space, adopting new technologies, hiring many more auditors, and giving more responsibility to women.
These positive changes are certainly an encouraging sign of what is to come for the SAI. CCAF will continue to work with the SAI to strengthen its performance audit capacity, along with other Canadian partners supporting the SAI, including the OAG of Canada, the Vérificateur général du Québec, and the Université du Québec en Outaouais. And because CREFIAF is based in Cameroon, CCAF's work with the Contrôle Supérieur d'État will also contribute to strengthening CREFIAF.
Pauline will surely continue to play an important part in her SAI's partnership with CCAF, and in the work of her SAI and CREFIAF.