Date posted: 3/04/2018 3 min read

In a world of fake news, who can you trust?

Today, information is available to investors and reporting stakeholders from all angles. If information has been opined on by a trusted source, it turns it into decision-worthy information rather than just noise.

In brief

  • The need for trusted opinions has never been stronger
  • Trust is based on competence, care and ethics
  • Auditors are the answer

Complex world, complex profession

Audit is a complex discipline. There are many and diverse inputs and skills required, combining deep technical expertise with experience and judgement. One of the challenges for the profession has always been how to explain not only what this complex process involves, but also what constitutes quality in relation to the different skills and inputs. Initiatives such as the introduction of key audit matters into the public audit report, and audit firms’ transparency reports which explain controls around the quality of their audits, help to bring more information about audit to the public domain. Each of these provides insights into the competence, due care, and ethical approach that is the foundation of an audit and those working in the profession. 

“The audit profession therefore has huge value to contribute beyond the financial statement audit. As with all walks of life, there are challenges” 
Liz Stamford, Head of Policy, Audit and Insolvency

In our fast moving, digital world, information is available to investors and reporting stakeholders from all angles. Decisions are made based on a range of such information sources, most of which, at the moment, are unsubstantiated. Anyone can post something on the internet, but if information has been opined on by a trusted source – a person who can be relied on for competence, due care and ethics – it turns it into decision-worthy information rather than just noise. 

Audit Conference 2018

The 2018 Audit Conference will explore the audit of the future, delve into the impact that technology is having on audits, and give attendees the opportunity to discuss specific audit areas and sectors that continue to challenge.

Register here

Complex problem, simple answer

Let’s consider the skills that an auditor brings to financial statement audits:

  • technical competence through understanding accounting, auditing and business requirements
  • due care through professional scepticism and challenging mindsets
  • ethics through independence and objectivity

These are the skills which are being demanded by communities to make sense of these information sources. The audit profession therefore has huge value to contribute beyond the financial statement audit. As with all walks of life, there are challenges. Promoting audit quality and finding ways to articulate the value a financial statement audit brings is the first. There are no shortage of people who are rightly proud to be auditors – as demonstrated by the #AuditorProud day last year. The CA ANZ Audit Conferences, which have just commenced in Australia, provide an opportunity to meet and encourage peers and colleagues and these interactions are revealing many ways in which individual auditors are promoting their profession in their communities. 

These are also important occasions to help support each other in recognising that audit skills can be applied to provide assurance on other information. If an organisation is making available other information, such as sustainability reports, climate change risk disclosures, productivity reports or control processes, then a trusted assurance opinion greatly enhances their value. 

Auditors are the answer. 

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