Municipal financial governance: The CPA Order advocates for efficiency and effectiveness

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Montreal, January 17, 2018 – Before the Committee on Planning and the Public Domain, which is holding special consultations on Bill 155, the Quebec CPA Order expressed its surprise that various audit functions could be divided between the independent auditor and the Commission municipale. 

“In the wake of the Charbonneau Commission, legislative auditors have become key players in government control and accountability due to their institutional independence. Yet, instead of leveraging the Auditor General of Québec’s expertise and independence, the government would rather entrust the Commission municipale with a new audit mandate. Whether this is the right path and the best use of public funds remains to be seen,” said Geneviève Mottard, CPA, CA, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Quebec CPA Order. 

  • The Commission municipale is an administrative tribunal and advisory body specializing in municipal affairs. The Commission does not have the specialized resources it would need to perform its new mandate. Moreover, we must ask if it is wise to make the Commission responsible for auditing the work of municipal general auditors, given that they must be independent from the entire municipal administration and their independence must not be compromised or manipulated by political power. 

  • The Bill provides that the financial statements of a municipality with more than 10,000 but less than 100,000 inhabitants be audited by an independent auditor, who may also perform value-for-money audits of the municipality and any corporation or organization within its reporting entity, if he or she deems it appropriate.

  • Value-for-money auditing not only requires specialized expertise but is also a grave responsibility, as it can result in a challenge to municipality management and thus target the quality of certain people’s work. To do this, the auditor must have the necessary autonomy and independence.

  • The independent auditors responsible for auditing financial statements will not all have the same expertise, and some will have to make considerable investments in specialized human resources to perform value-for-money audits. As a result, competition will be reduced, while expertise will be divided among independent entities that will not necessarily work together — all the while without mitigating the risks involved, as they will not enjoy any immunity. 

  • The Auditor General of Québec and municipal general auditors are in the best position to assume this responsibility. They have not only the necessary expertise and resources, but also, and most importantly, the required freedom, because of the immunity they enjoy.
“The government must not miss this opportunity to implement a comprehensive strategy that would benefit all municipal organizations and foster the development of common tools, healthy competition and the sharing of best practices and experiences, while making the best use of public funds,” concluded Ms. Mottard. 

About the Quebec CPA Order
The Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec has 39,000 members and 5,000 future CPAs, making it the third-largest professional order in Quebec. The Order ensures the protection of the public and the visibility of the profession. It represents all areas of expertise of the accounting profession: assurance, financial accounting, management and management accounting, finance and taxation.

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Read the brief submitted by the Order (in French only) >


Jean-Louis Laplante
Manager, Public Affairs
Quebec CPA Order
T. 514 288.3256 [3024]  1 800 363.4688

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