Heli Mikkelä started as a director at the National Audit Office of Finland

Heli Mikkelä, who joined the National Audit Office of Finland (NAOF) from Statistics Finland, finds that stakeholder cooperation and sparking discussions play a particularly important role in the NAOF's operations.

Heli Mikkelä holds a Master of Science in Agriculture and Forestry and in Social Sciences. She started at the National Audit Office of Finland on 16 September as Director of the impact area Sustainable Governance and Public Administration. Mikkelä is looking forward to her new duties and the opportunity to develop the Finnish public administration and support sustainable development. She can also see a clear link between her new role and her previous positions in research and statistics production.

‘The National Audit Office’s target is to provide knowledge and expertise to support decision-making and planning more strongly. This is linked to the wider development of knowledge-based management in the entire society. Key elements in this are solid cooperation and promotion of an interactive operating culture. I will strive to be actively in contact with different stakeholder groups from the very beginning in order to spark cooperation and discussion. However, I also hope that the stakeholders will be active and take contact,’ says Mikkelä.

Mikkelä believes that unbiased actors, such as the NAOF, are needed in society – not only to provide information but also to open eyes and awaken minds.

‘The National Audit Office has a good vantage point at the very centre of the Finnish society. The insight and knowledge resulting from its work are valuable resources when the aim is to develop society, identify strengths and development needs, and build on previous experiences,’ says Mikkelä.

Issues related to sustainable development and the environment, for example, are on top of the agenda of the impact area headed by Mikkelä, as Finland will be holding the presidency of the Working Group on Environmental Auditing of INTOSAI, the umbrella organisation for the external government audit community, for the next few years.

Mikkelä served most recently as Deputy Director General of Statistics Finland, where she previously also held the positions of Development Director, Director of Information Services, and Head of Communication. Mikkelä has also served in communication and specialist duties at the Finnish Forest Research Institute.

Sustainable Governance and Public Administration is one of the NAOF’s four impact areas, which steer the agency’s audit and monitoring work and enhance the societal impact of the information provided by the NAOF. The NAOF overhauled its strategy and management system in the spring of 2019. The aim of the change is to ensure that the NAOF operates effectively, efficiently and uniformly.