Date posted: 15/12/2021

Moves to address auditor shortage will maintain trust in New Zealand Inc

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand welcomes the Government’s decision to address the domestic auditor shortage, saying it comes not a moment too soon for maintaining trust in New Zealand’s capital markets, public institutions, and the broader economy.

“The decision to grant a border class exception for auditors is a big win for New Zealand Inc, as audit underpins the integrity of our public institutions, and our global reputation for transparency and sound business practices,” said CA ANZ NZ Country Head Peter Vial FCA.

“Every year thousands of New Zealand businesses and public organisations place a priority on completing their external audit both to meet their legislative and regulatory obligations and to deliver on stakeholder expectations.”

“Even with deadline extensions from Parliament and the FMA we’re seeing the effects of the auditor shortage throughout the economy, most recently with delayed local government annual reports.”

“We expect to see improved audit timeframes in 2022 now that firms can fill gaps in the domestic workforce, although they will still have to recruit from a competitive international market.

New Zealand has traditionally recruited skilled auditors from overseas especially during the peak reporting season, however COVID related border restrictions have cut this supply off.

In April a CA ANZ survey of audit providers revealed 206 vacancies across the 13 major audit providers, which by October had grown to over 260.

“We’re pleased that the Government and the officials recognise both the risks that this shortage poses, the benefits that auditors provide, and the need for this border exception,” said Mr Vial.

“In the long-term, this shortage highlights the need for CA ANZ, the audit profession and the government, to work closely together to secure a pipeline of audit talent sufficient to meet demand.”

“That starts with getting the accounting curriculum right at secondary school, through to our university pathways and then ensuring recruitment, domestic retention and remuneration settings are landing right for current and prospective auditors.”

“Addressing the critical shortage of auditors available domestically has been a key focus for CA ANZ this year. We are delighted with today’s announcement.”

“It’s clear from our Talking Talent and What We Heard discussion papers released this year that challenges in audit can only be addressed by a broad stakeholder group, and through a range of actions, and we will continue to lead this discussion.”

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