President Obama isnt the only leader to have recently signed an agreement with his Russian counterpart.
Following on the heels of the nuclear arms agreement with the Russian government (no doubt coincidentally), the Florida-based Institute of Internal Auditors has inked a trilateral agreement with its 10-year-old Russian affiliate, IIA-Russia, as well as the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, to foster the development of professional internal auditing throughout Russias public sector. IIA president Richard Chamber practiced a bit of shuttle diplomacy to get the agreement signed this week among the three entities.
The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation is a member of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions and plays a part in ensuring that public funds are indeed used for the public good. The agreement is supposed to support that role through the sharing of information and best practices, especially related to internal auditing in the government and other institutions.
The agreement aims to foster the exchange of analytical materials and promote global certification and other initiatives. The various parties will cooperate on professional education and training to enhance the skills and knowledge of state auditors in the Russian Federation. The agreement also sets the stage for joint events and cooperation on mutual areas of interest.
To be sure, there have been accusations in recent years of Russian pressure on audit firms, especially PricewaterhouseCoopers, whose offices were raided about three years ago in search of files related to its client, the Yukos petroleum company. But the new agreement on government internal auditing between the U.S. and Russian organizations appears to be a welcome sign of increased cooperation and hopefully transparency.