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Our work

Saint Helena Audit Service performs different types of audits. We undertake the audit of public sector accounts and conduct performance audits to determine whether resources have been used with regard to economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

What is a Financial Audit?

A financial audit is an independent examination of financial statements resulting in a report. The report is an audit opinion and in most cases also a management letter.

The audit client prepares financial statements each year and sends them to the auditor along with one or more files of supporting information. The audit team carries out a variety of tests designed to determine whether the information in the financial statements is correct.

We are not able to ensure absolute correctness; we accept a low level of error where it would not have any material effect on the readers of the financial statements.

What does an audit opinion mean?

The best sort of opinion is an unqualified opinion, sometimes described as a clean opinion, where the Chief Audit reports that:

"In my opinion, the financial statements present fairly the financial position of the Government"

Any other sort of opinion is described as a modified opinion.

Fair presentation?



Unqualified opinion

Yes, except for...

Qualified opinion


Adverse opinion

Cannot express a view

Disclaimer of opinion

What is the Management Letter?

The management letter is a way of documenting the communication between the auditor and those in charge of the audit client. It:

• describes the important results of the audit

• demonstrates the big issues that were discussed as part of the audit

• asks those in charge if they agree with management’s view on corrections

What is a Value For Money/Performance Audit?

A value for money/performance audit is an examination into the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which government’s resources have been used. A performance audit may look at any one or more of the three E’s (economy, efficiency and effectiveness).

Performance audits use a variety of techniques to collect enough evidence to come to a conclusion. Methods may include:

• file examination

• surveys or questionnaires

• interviews

• focus groups

• direct observation

What are the 3 E’s?

The table below provides explains the meaning of the three E’s – economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

3 E’s


 What does it mean


Keeping the costs low

Are the cost of resources used for an activity as low as they can be, having regard to appropriate quality?


Making the most of available resources

Are we getting the most output – in terms of quantity and quality – from the inputs and actions?


Achieving the stipulated aims or objectives.

Are the aims being met by the means employed, the outputs produced and the impacts observed? Are the impacts observed really the result of the policy?