Date posted: 15/10/2020 3 min read

The emergence of integrated reporting assurance

Integrated reporting assurance is emerging. Its place in the pathway to the audit of the future is becoming clearer.

In Brief

  • Audited financial reports are more valuable now than ever
  • Physical access restrictions and economic uncertainty present a number of challenges to the audit process and may have implications for the auditor’s report
  • Remote auditing is becoming a necessity, but auditing standards remain the same and audit quality has to be maintained

Early assurance on integrated reports has been achieved on an incremental basis, with numerous instances of limited assurance on selected metrics, such as under GRI standards, in integrated reports. Financial report auditors have responsibilities under Statement of Assurance Standards ASA 720, The Auditor’s Responsibilities Relating to Other Information. These responsibilities including reviewing for the appearance of material inconsistency or material error, ‘other information’ (e.g. operating and financial reviews in directors’ reports) in reports containing the financial report that they have audited (e.g. annual reports). In South Africa, ‘combined assurance’ has proved a popular assurance model.

The ‘audit of the future’ is critical to the public interest, the future of the accounting profession and the careers of accountants. At a macro level, assurance can be an important contribution to business productivity, capital markets, society and international competitiveness, and to the credibility of and trust in corporate reports, the corporate reporting system and business.
Michael Bray, FCA

In this article, Michael Bray, FCA, provides insights into the continuing evolution of integrated reporting assurance and where it is headed.