The day the auditor comes, activities are scrutinised and books are checked, so it’s understandable that audits can be stressful.

But this fine-tooth-comb treatment is exactly what businesses need if they want to make sure they’re getting the most out of every dollar — and even more what the public sector needs, since every dollar comes from taxpayers’ pockets.

According to a report completed in March and made public June 12, government’s auditor – in this case the Internal Audit Department — has not always gotten the full cooperation it should from government departments and ministries.

But as the department transitions from its former status as a unit in the Premier’s Office to a fully staffed department under the Ministry of Finance, this seems to be changing for the better, said Wendell Gaskin, deputy financial secretary and head of the department, which officially formed April 1.

The Internal Audit Act was passed in February by legislators who called it “long overdue” and “one of the most important pieces of legislation” passed by the current government.

The transition is going smoothly, Mr. Gaskin said in an interview last week.

See the July 28, 2011 edition for full coverage.