SAI Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Latvia discuss innovation and the culture of experimentation


How to develop innovation and culture of experimentation in supreme audit institutions (SAIs)? For exchanging experience on this topic, the State Audit Office of Latvia organized an international workshop “Innovations in a supreme audit institution and auditing”, with the participation of colleagues from Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium, whose SAI culture has been relatively long and diversely developed.

While sharing their experience of creating a culture of innovation in their SAIs, colleagues emphasized the need to apply sustainable thinking in auditing, improve competences constantly and not be afraid of an experimental approach. The workshop focused on how SAIs of other countries implemented sustainable thinking, innovative approach and applied experimentation methods in auditing in practice, what was the current practice (examples) as well as future perspectives.

  • When introducing innovation and creating a culture of experimentation in the institution, the representatives of SAI Sweden pointed out that employees should be ready and open to change, without fear of the introduction of innovations and new technologies.
  • The Dutch SAI presented the concept of the audit design studio and the profiles of the studio employees, and gave practical examples of how this team of experts helped to strengthen cooperation with various non-SAI stakeholders, that is, see to increase the impact of audits.
  • The SAI Norway representative presented the institution’s audit innovation laboratory including its concept, methods and practical examples for improving auditing by stating that when implementing innovation projects, one should not be afraid to take risks and make mistakes.
  • In their turn, the representative of the SAI Belgium shared their experience of the institution’s data laboratory, which was established by the auditors themselves and whose main goal was to exchange experience on the use of data, as well as to support other colleagues in these matters. During the presentation, colleagues demonstrated a series of practical examples from the work of the data laboratory, for instance, data transformation and restructuring, data visualization, etc.

In response to the question, what was the most important benefit of creating a culture of innovation and experimentation in the institutions, foreign lecturers indicated that data automation processes freed up resources for other work, while introducing innovation audit at work left more time for innovation.

At the event, the team of the State Audit Office of Latvia discussed in working groups what innovations should be integrated into the work of the State Audit Office of Latvia and what could be the optimal way to do it. In the working groups, the auditors generated ideas that would help to solve the challenges related to data scrapping more effectively and qualitatively, data analysis and data visualization. Although time resources for innovation were highlighted as a key challenge, participants agreed on the need to innovate, for example, by creating an innovation interest group to develop ideas and promote their implementation in practice.

International cooperation of the State Audit Office of the Republic of Latvia:

  • Holds elected positions in the governing bodies of EUROSAI, a regional organisation of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), serves on the Contact Committee, of the Cooperation Platform between the SAIs of the EU Member States and the European Court of Auditors, and acts as an auditor of international organisations;
  • Ensures participation and professional input in the INTOSAI and EUROSAI International Working Groups and the INTOSAI Financial Auditing Standards Subcommittee;
  • Provides development and support to the SAIs of other countries and offers services in the international consulting market as a professional, highly qualified, and experienced consultant in the field of public sector audits.

About the State Audit Office of Latvia

The State Audit Office of the Republic of Latvia is an independent, collegial supreme audit institution. The purpose of its activity is to find out whether the actions with the financial means and property of a public entity are legal, correct, useful and in line with public interests, as well as to provide recommendations for the elimination of discovered irregularities. The State Audit Office conducts audits in accordance with International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions INTOSAI (ISSAI), whose recognition in Latvia is determined by the Auditor General.

100 years of AUDIT STRENGTH

On 16 August 2023, the State Audit Law turned 100 years old. With the adoption of this Law, the State Audit Office from a formal de facto institution founded on 2 December 1918 became a de jure independent, collegial supreme audit institution of the Republic of Latvia. The State Audit Office is one of the independent state institutions enshrined in the Satversme (Constitution) of Latvia. The Constitution was signed by Roberts Ivanovs as the secretary of the Constitutional Assembly, who was then confirmed as the Auditor General. He worked as the first Auditor General for 12 years. His signature confirmed the text of our Constitution alongside that of Jānis Čakste.

Additional information

Ms Signe Znotiņa-Znota

Head of PR and Internal Communication Division

Ph. + 371 67017671 | M. + 371 26440185 | E-mail: