YES 2017. Updates Available

Updates Available will be the main theme of the third YES Conference. Updates Available symbolises first of all the constant need for improvement which, in combination with the developments of digitalisation and an increase in data volumes, represents a must-have upgrade for every auditor. By sharing our ideas, success stories and also not-so- successful practises, we can all find ways to further improve our work, to update our auditing. Who better to make use of all the data out there but the people that have grown up within it – the young staff.

So what is the story behind YES 2017?

We are living in an era described by exponential growth and availability of data, which brings about substantial changes happening all around us – the trend towards connectivity, globalisation and unbroken access affects most aspects of our life. Digital technologies have been integrated into our everyday lives by the digitisation of everything that can be digitised.

We have come to take for granted the access to unfathomable amount of data. We can easily find answers to almost any question by simply googling it. Whether it’s the recipe of your favourite apple pie or a country’s GDP in the previous quarter, the information is just a few clicks away.

At the same time, the underlying values of society are also changing. For example, environmental assets create a new basis of public value beyond financial resources. People are becoming more aware of social responsibility; traits such as storytelling, authenticity and craftsmanship are in demand as we return to local sourcing and manufacturing.

The changes in our surroundings also affect the work of SAIs in many ways. On the one hand, the innovations, the availability of and access to data, not to mention the various technical solutions, present great opportunities to be utilised in audits. Open data allows us to conduct much more thorough analysis and together with other digital solutions can make the auditing process easier, faster, as well as more reliable. Furthermore, the digital technologies enable us to present the data in a much better packaging, to make it more interesting and easily understandable.

On the other hand, however, the digitalisation and piles of data pose challenges and threats. For example, an auditor does not merely need to have good analytical skills, but also the traits of a data expert. Without the proper skills for gathering, sorting and analysing the data, the outcome will unlikely provide any added value to your work.

Furthermore, an auditor needs to be constantly up to date with the processes happening in the audited sector, and the availability of data provides the means for that. As the pace of life becomes more hectic, an auditor is expected to not only give opinions on past occasions, but also orientate in real-life events and processes. The expectations to auditors, and SAIs as a whole, change in line with the changes in society.

The availability of data does not merely mean that an auditor has access to more data – everybody has the access to more data, but the quality of data is often difficult to assess. Most processes in the public and private sector can be provided with automated control systems. In the world of endless information, at one point or another, we come across the question – what is our role in all of this? Are we providing any added value to the public in the current form? How do we adapt to the changes in society?

Updates Available symbolises the constant need for improvement which, in combination with the developments of digitalisation and an increase in data volumes, represents a must-have upgrade for every auditor

What is going to happen in Tallinn?

We are going to spend four wonderful days full of generating ideas, sharing experience, and networking.

While we continue with the preparations here in Tallinn, we also ask you to step on board and share your ideas on YES 2017. We think that one of the best things about the YES Conference is that it largely builds upon the participants’ contributions! This means that it is up to us all to make it a great event!

Workshops by Participants

First of all, we would like you to think how the data explosion and digitalisation has impacted your work and which of those impacts you would like to discuss with other participants. Perhaps you would like to take it even a step further and contribute by moderating a workshop, brainstorming, or some other group session format? The time allocated for each workshop session will be 75 minutes. The venue, Mektory, has also good technical opportunities, so just think big, and we will do our best to assist you in realising it.

So, you could share your ideas and experience, for example, on:

  • The impact of data explosion on auditing processes and methods
  • Digital tools as a part of auditors’ everyday toolbox
  • Gathering meaningful data
  • How to identify data reliability
  • Conducting a real-time/online audit
  • Making sense of data
  • Auditors’ (or SAIs’) role and added value in the world of data
  • Etc.

This is not an exhaustive list of topics. Feel free to suggest your own approach.

Please give us a hint of your planned workshop already in the preliminary registration form, which should be submitted by 30 April.

Idea Garage

There will be a special kind of brainstorming session held at YES – it’s called Idea Garage.
The aim of Idea Garage is to encourage all of us to generate, propose and develop new ideas on how to solve different pressing social issues using open and big data. Don’t be afraid – you don’t need to be a data expert for that. You just need an open mind!
By and large, here’s how it works:

First, there’s a problem identified.

For Example, in Estonia there are problems with kindergarten planning – there is a shortage of kindergartens and/or kindergarten groups due to changes in population structure.

Then we start thinking whether it would be possible to solve these problems using open or big data.

For example, in this case we think that if we analyze data about population in municipality (age, place of residence, location of younger people and children); general population trends; existing kindergartens (size, location, capability to open new groups, waiting list); new spatial plans and building permits; existing properties that belong to the municipality/state, we can predict and match demand and supply, observe changes in population structure. We also can aid the city and urban planning to enable more informed decisions regarding building (where & when) new kindergartens or/and opening new kindergarten groups. This also helps the municipality to foresee the demand for skilled staff.

The Idea Garage will take place in smaller groups, with each group having its own mentor to steer the discussion. In order to make this event as interesting and useful as possible, we would once again like to ask for your assistance. The aim is to list the areas that fascinate you the most and identify the key problems in this field well before the conference. That’s why there is a separate part in the preliminary registration form for inputs to the Idea Garage.

Way Forward

First, a preliminary registration will take place. Each SAI is invited to nominate up to two participants, up to 35 years of age, to the YES Conference.

All participants should fill out a registration form at the YES website. The aim of pre-registration is to collect general information about the conference participants and their interest, and also the workshops that they would like to organise themselves. The preliminary registration is open until 30 April. 

Soon after that, all pre-registered participants will be contacted by the YES-team with further instructions regarding final registration, accommodation, as well as their indicated contributions. Please make sure to submit the final registration details before the summer holiday season! The deadline for final registration is 30 June.

 

To read more about the previous conferences, just visit the YES 2013 and YES 2015 website.