Services

Vista Advisory provides a range of assurance and governance services

Outsourced Performance Audits

We deliver high quality outsourced performance audits on behalf of audit offices and statutory authorities assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of public sector programs and functions. We conduct our audits in accordance with AUASB-issued ASAEs 3000 and 3500 and other relevant requirements including applicable legislative obligations and Auditor-General’s standards.

Program Evaluations and Performance Reviews

We undertake program evaluations and performance reviews – independently or with management – to assess whether programs and functions have achieved their intended outcomes. Our reviews and evaluations inform future funding decisions, program design, legislative reform and strategic direction.

Early Program Implementation and Assurances Reviews

Public sector entities engage us early in a program or process to obtain assurance that they are on track and meeting key accountability requirements. This reduces risk and promotes good practice from the start. We can confirm good practice, identify opportunities for improvement and analyse what lessons can be learned for ongoing implementation and related functions. Our reviews help entities remain focused on the objectives and to undertake future work efficiently and effectively.

Assurance and Evaluation Frameworks

We bring our unparalleled public sector assurance and governance expertise when designing audit and evaluation frameworks for public sector functions and programs. We develop fit-for-purpose risk-based approaches and tools and will assist in building team capacity for implementation.

Assurance and Public Sector Governance advice

We provide assurance and governance advice to assist public sector entities implement programs and functions (including regulatory approaches) in a risk-based manner and to better meet stakeholder expectations and withstand external scrutiny, including in the current deregulatory environment under the new Commonwealth financial framework. In a deregulatory environment, audit and assurance activities, and targeted and efficient program monitoring and evaluation are even more important.

Audit Quality Control and Quality Assurance Reviews

We conduct audit engagement quality control reviews (EQCRs, for audits in progress) and audit quality assurance reviews following audit completion. We conduct standards-driven assessments, grounded in real-world experience, recognising the balance between audit quality and efficiency. We make constructive, future-focused recommendations for improvement that will inform methodology development and identify any staff development needs.

Vista Advisory’s services to government include a range of assurance and governance services:

  • Audit advice, support and training
  • Governance advice and program support, including developing audit frameworks and strategies
  • Audit preparedness assistance – for auditors or auditees
  • Financial viability assessments of funding recipients (grant and non-grant funding)
  • Analysis and advice regarding controls and program implementation
  • Program evaluation and targeted reviews

Audit Training and Capacity Building

Vista Advisory develops and delivers tailored audit, assurance and governance training program for public sector clients, incorporating both hard and soft skills for auditors and non-auditors to build organisational capacity. Vista Advisory also offers specific courses for audit offices, public sector entities with new or revised audit or accountability functions or those preparing for an audit.

  • Performance Audit Foundations (for new auditors) covers the fundamentals around how to plan, manage and conduct performance audits
  • Audit Communication (for auditors with 3+ years experience and senior audit executives – targeted and effective communication to improve audit value and results)
  • Preparing for an audit (for entities that will be audited – providing information, working with the auditor, enhancing value for your entity and its stakeholders from the audit)

Tailored audit training courses available – for compliance and other audits undertaken in accordance with AUASB assurance standards.

Beyond audit training, Vista Advisory supports agencies to enhance their own audit capability through mentoring, skills and knowledge transfer, and the development of tailored support tools (e.g. policies and procedures, methodology development, templates).

Client Feedback

Client Feedback on all our work is very positive and we are consistently re-engaged to undertake further projects for satisfied clients.

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office thanks Vista Advisory for the professional and comprehensive manner they have demonstrated when undertaking this project to review a selection of our 2014-15 Performance Audit engagements…

Thank you once again for all of the effort you and all of the Vista team have performed on this assignment. We are very pleased we select Vista for the engagement and I would be happy to provide an endorsement or act as a referee for other engagements you seek to undertake.

Matthew Zappulla- Assistant Auditor-General, Standards and Quality, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office
I would like to sincerely thank the review team for their insights and the highly professional approach they adopted’.
Colin Murphy- Auditor General for Western Australia
For a 2013-14 evaluation, a letter of thanks from the Department of Environment is outlined below:

Dear Caroline,
I would like to thank you for your professionalism, flexibility and dedication to the task of evaluating the Programme. The report was an important opportunity for us to capture both the achievements and the lessons-learned from the last three years of NERP’s operations. You delivered a well-rounded examination of the programme which captured the positive outcomes and also provided helpful insights into some of the programme’s weaknesses and areas for improvement. Your report was clear, balanced and very readable.

Thank you for making the effort to be co-located with us here in the Department to really understand the program and for the positive way in which you worked with us to assemble all the information required for your evaluation. I know I speak on behalf of everyone in the team here, in saying that we were impressed with your openness, approachability and flexibility in navigating the short timeframe available to deliver such a detailed report. The feedback I have had with researchers and research users since the evaluation report was released, similarly reveals a high level of satisfaction and appreciation for the thorough and respectful way in which you have worked with others and faithfully conveyed the diversity of their views.

I was also very pleased with you and your team’s genuine desire to understand the mechanics of the Program and your commitment to delivering the best possible product to accurately evaluate the program and to inform future management. The final product has been well received and I’m sure will play an important role in both assisting us improve the current program delivery, as well as helping guide future investment in environmental research.

Please pass on my thanks to your team (Peter McVay and Sue Sheriden) and refer to this email in future if you are seeking to demonstrate feedback from a previous client in your future consulting.

Kind regards

Sustainability Research and Science Policy Section
Sustainability Policy and Analysis Division
Department of the Environment
National Environmental Research Program | environmental research for decision making.

Dave Johnson- Department of Environment
For a 2014 governance and capability review for the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions, the New Zealand Office of the Auditor-General noted:

Vista provided a well thought through and targeted approach.  The recommended solutions for our new management structure fully accounted for our new strategic direction and offered a refreshing view as to what the purpose of the organisation should be around that strategy. We are fully implementing Vista’s recommendations and they will provide a guide to the new management structure as we transition into a new Secretariat.

This speaks well of the collaborative way in which Vista approached the task in working with both the governors and existing managers throughout the process. Vista ‘got us’ and delivered.

Bruce Robertson- New Zealand Office of the Auditor-General
For our recent audit of diagnostic imaging reforms, the Auditor-General praised Vista’s understanding of the subject and relevant issues and commended the report’s worldliness, fairness, balance and timeliness. The Auditor-General and ANAO executive were particularly pleased with the project’s project management and delivery – the audit report was delivered on time (just 6 months) and under budget – and that an excellent relationship was developed and maintained with the auditee’s program officers and senior executive within the Department of Health. Our responsiveness and comfortable working relationship with the ANAO Executive was appreciated.
Name Removed- Auditor-General

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