The audit profession has faced many questions recently and the National Audit Office report highlights an important aspect that is not often discussed, how do organisations respond to what their auditors are saying? When an organisation gets into difficulties or fails the question asked is where was the auditor. As an audit professional it is right we answer this question. Sometimes though the answer is the auditor was there but no one was listening.
The coming months will see continued focus on the audit profession. Whatever changes are agreed, it is important organisations ask whether they understand what their auditor is saying.
“I am shocked by the persistent high level of qualified audit reports at local public bodies. A qualification is a judgement that something is seriously wrong, but despite these continued warnings, the number of bodies receiving qualifications is trending upwards. Let us hear no cries of ‘where were the auditors?’ when things go wrong. The answer will be ‘they did the job, but you weren’t listening’.” “This is not good enough; local bodies need to address their weaknesses, and departments across government should ensure they are challenging local bodies to demonstrate how they are responding.” Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO, 10 January 2019