Before going digital, the General Auditing Bureau (GAB) dealt with the immense volume of paperwork. Data and documents associated with related governmental entities were collected and transferred back and forth through large boxes. This transfer process limited their performance extent and quality due to the need for a lot of auditors, the excess number of documents, and the complexity of the process in terms of transportation, room, and other risks.
GAB was very keen on implementing an electronic system that helps with the automation of its business procedures. This was part of the process in achieving Saudi Vision 2030 for creating smart cities, the National Transformation Program 2020, and in order to implement the strategic plan for the digital transformation of the General Auditing Bureau.
After the establishment of Vision 2030 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, entities focused on the development of strategies helping them through a gradual expedition to digital transformation. Vision 2030 came as an inspiration to GAB to invest more in new technologies embedding AI, IoT, and Big Data and encouraged them to dive into the world of smart cities. Several entities in the governmental and public sector took the initiative and started putting out strategies to take this vision to the next phase. One of the first entities to take this step was the General Auditing Bureau by launching SHAMEL, the digital auditing platform.
What Did they Need?
GAB had to handle many manual tasks and was lacking an automated system capable of managing the lifecycle of its audit operations.
GAB needed to fight corruption in public institutions by implementing a permanent solution that improves financial supervision and reduces the mismanagement of financial resources in the country.
GAB was looking to facilitate and accelerate the exchange of electronic documents and audit results with the entities supervised by the Bureau through the Governmental Secured Network (GSN) and the MIFON network provided by the National Information Center (NIC).
The goal of this plan needed to aim towards connecting more than 1000 governmental and semi-governmental entities covered by GAB’s supervision with the Smart Electronic Auditing Platform.
As a result, Intalio experts designed “SHAMEL” an electronic monitoring system, to complete the auditing work of the General Audit Bureau and the exchange of data and financial documents with the entities to facilitate and accelerate the work of the audit and provide the reported results to the concerned organizations.
More on SHAMEL
The system aims to organize the preparation of annual plans and one-third annually and the implementation of field tasks through an electronic platform. SHAMEL targets all the governmental and semi-governmental agencies in the country.
The platform which enables automation of the financial auditing process and empowers the auditing fundamentals via machine learning and artificial intelligence was implemented via a set of projects since 2015 as follows:
Phase 1: Automating all auditing processes. The Bureau looked for a solution that overcame their main obstacles. To reduce the number of auditors, save room, and perform better in less time, they selected an automation system so that all processes became electronic.
Phase 2: Implementing SHAMEL connector and Capturing application at all agencies premises which allow them to link electronically into the system and enable sharing all financial documents and data. This step facilitated communication between entities. It was now possible for GAB to send all observations or reports to the related entities electronically.
Phase 3: SHAMEL Big Data and Analytics which allows the General Auditing Bureau to store a massive amount of financial data to be used in auditing and apply analytics on these data to get better auditing results. GAB was now able to manage its documents’ lifecycle and facilitate the automation, archiving, transferring, and routing of all incoming and outgoing documents.
Phase 4: SHAMEL Electronic Support Platform provides technical and administrative support for the governmental entities. An entity administrator can register entity users in SHAMEL electronically and manage their permissions. Entity users can open tickets, reserve a meeting with the SHAMEL team, and enroll in training sessions provided by the General Auditing Bureau training center. The platform includes an electronic library and e-learning center which provide all the needed materials related to SHAMEL. It is crucial to mention that SHAMEL addresses gender inequality by continuing to provide various training programs for employees of financial and internal audit departments in the audited entities, where the number of trainees enrolled in training programs, provided by the Center during the year of the report, was about 5000 trainees between males and females.
Phase 5 [Future vision and will be implemented in 2020]: SHAMEL Raw Data Management enables converting financial documents into raw data to improve the auditing processes and apply better analytics. This meant that data now started to have meaning and actionable insights were able to be extracted for better decision making. This phase enables the connectivity and integration with other systems provided by other governmental entities, like Etimad provided by the Ministry of Finance, and electronic services provided by the Saudi Ministry of Civil Service.
Phase 6 [Future vision and will be implemented in 2020]: SHAMEL Smart Auditing platform which enables artificial intelligence and machine learning in the automated auditing processes. The system will apply predictive analytics on the data for auditors to help them improve their auditing process.
After SHAMEL Implementation…
After the successful implementation of SHAMEL, GAB was able to achieve its objectives in improving and automating the services and procedures of the operations between them and entities under their control. Further to reducing operation costs, paperwork, and procedures that heavily rely on paper, SHAMEL solved larger issues that were pulling GAB behind.
SHAMEL allowed GAB to manage and organize the data and records of the entities in addition to the exchange of data and documents necessary for the audit process completion covered by GAB through the Governmental Secured Network (GSN) and the MIFON network provided by the NIC.
Document management and archiving were done as per the security standards while keeping working papers linked to the entire process of review, reporting, and responses. SHAMEL provided work programs for auditors and managed their implementation across the system with indicators and statistics for audit results.
“This smart and unified auditing platform created by Intalio, for all our Government entities in the Kingdom, included an electronic system to prepare the partial and final reports required for the annual plan, based on which the budgets of the government entities are being set. It allowed for the integration with both the Ministry of Finances’ financial platforms and the Correspondence Tracking Systems at the governmental entities via a centralized HUB.” stated Ahmed Mohamed Al Hussein, General Supervisor of SHAMEL, General Auditing Bureau.
Real, Raw, Results…
Almost 600 entities are linked today, and we are working on reaching all the 992 entities in the near future.
Total amounts claimed by the Bureau during the year and still under follow-up with concerned entities have reached more than SR66 billion, an increase of 78% compared to last year, adding that this substantial increase in the results of the Bureau’s work reflects the success of this developed methodology.
Regarding the electronic linkage between the GAB and the audited entities through the e-audit system, more than 550 government agencies have already been linked, an increase of 170% over the previous year.
The total amounts that the Bureau was able to fetch into the public treasury, during the financial year covering the report, have reached more than SR20 billion, an increase of 127% compared to last year.
“These results reflect the high level of quality and efficiency after implementing the SHAMEL platform. There is no doubt that it is one of the most valuable projects within the digital transformation plan designed by Intalio. It includes all parties with an unblemished oversight on work stages, a diversity in supervised actors, with which the Bureau works and coordinates. We are very proud of this achievement.” Stated Ali Hmedeh, Head of SHAMEL, Intalio
Our experts at Intalio are on an uninterrupted mission to optimize SHAMEL. Our current objective is to transform the Electronic Auditing System to a “Smart” Auditing Platform, embedding the latest in machine learning and AI. The platform is to work on top of raw data to facilitate the investigation process auditors go through each time.
In the near future, government entities can experience this through a “system-to-system” integration by creating an on-site integration tool that connects to all financial documents and incorporates them with SHAMEL automatically with very minor to no human interaction.
About General Auditing Bureau (GAB):
The General Auditing Bureau (GAB) is the supreme audit institution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. According to the GAB’s Constitution, it is responsible for the post-auditing of the state’s revenues, expenditures, movable, and fixed assets. In addition, it exercises auditing control in order to ensure proper utilization and maintenance of the previously mentioned resources.