- #AuditorProud celebrates the vital roles auditors play in maintaining the integrity of our economies and businesses.
- This year there is a bigger focus on mental health, reflecting the challenges of 2020 and 2021.
- Independent auditors are the most trusted group of employees when it comes to investor protection and market integrity.
By Hannah Tattersall
This year, #AuditorProud celebrates the vital roles auditors play in maintaining the integrity of our economies and businesses – particularly following years as challenging as 2020 and 2021.
Auditors have been tested like never before over the past 18 months, all the while showing resilience, adaptability and innovation.
Despite these challenges, CA ANZ’s most recent Australia and New Zealand Investor Confidence Surveys reveal independent auditors have retained their position as the most trusted group of employees when it comes to investor protection and market integrity.
The surveys also show retail investors see climate information as critically important to their decisions as they believe climate change is a key business risk and that companies have a responsibility to address its impacts.
Mental health a focal point
The pandemic has delivered particular challenges for auditors. They have been under immense pressure: auditing remotely, juggling multiple projects simultaneously and dealing with staff shortages as a result of border closures. It’s no wonder many have suffered from burnout as a result.
This year’s #AuditorProud has a bigger focus on mental health and appreciating the wellbeing of auditors, with many firms offering staff wellbeing days and pandemic leave, says Amir Ghandar FCA, CA ANZ’s assurance and reporting leader.
“This is about lending a lighter tone and letting the hair down at the end of busy season, but on a more serious note it’s about providing recognition and really recognising the value of the work auditors do – especially when their wellbeing is front of mind,” says Ghandar.
“In the pandemic when you’re juggling your wellbeing, family and deadlines, as a profession we have to recognise the rubber ball is the deadline,” says Ghandar. “If you drop that one it will bounce. Whereas if you drop any of the others they will break or shatter.”
Picture: Amir Ghandar FCA, CA ANZ assurance and reporting leader.
“In the pandemic when you’re juggling your wellbeing, family and deadlines, as a profession we have to recognise the rubber ball is the deadline. If you drop that one it will bounce. Whereas if you drop any of the others they will break or shatter.”
Listening to clients’ challenges
After coming through lockdowns in 2020, this year Whanganui-based Talia Anderson-Town CA and Cameron Town CA of Silks Audit made a promise to continue investing time in their clients and listening to their challenges.
Picture: Talia Tiori Anderson-Town CA and Cameron Town CA.
“We like to take a holistic approach to the way we audit, so we look at a business’s core values,” says Talia. “It allows us to make recommendations for system improvements that work best for them.
“We audit a lot of Māori entities and it’s important to give them an understanding of the concept of Kaupapa [collective vision and purpose], and be mindful of the way they operate their business.”
Adds Cameron: “It’s not just about the bottom line – sometimes the social, cultural and environmental outcomes are far more important than the financial ones.”
Cameron and Talia, who met through their shared “passion for auditing”, are also training and teaching the next generation of auditors in the region.
“We’re trying to educate graduates coming through about what accounting is and what auditing is,” says Cameron.
“We’ve started some cadetship programs this year, providing a pathway to get more auditors in New Zealand, because we’ve seen a massive shortage because of lockdowns and borders being closed. It’s becoming a bit of a crisis situation.”
Depth and rigour of training
Certainly to become an auditor requires a depth of training and skills-based learning, something the past 18 months has really demonstrated to chartered accountant Rakin Hasan CA, a senior analyst, Technology and Controls, at Deloitte Australia in Sydney.
Picture: Rakin Hasan CA.
“The profession has evolved so much,” says Hasan.
“Over the past two years, I have worked closely on audit transformation projects which focus on how we can transform our traditional way of doing audit. Most firms now have AI tools which review invoices and financial statements autonomously, and graduates, analysts and seniors are getting more involved in analytical work rather than ticking and bashing.
“I think auditors, especially during the pandemic, have set some fine examples of how to be adaptable in terms of using new tools.”
Last year, Hasan worked with a state transport organisation that was struggling with a complex financial metric system and IT infrastructure. Traditionally an auditor would perform sample-based manual testing, but Hasan and his team wanted to ensure their client took away more key insights.
“I worked with the client to extract their data and create a customs analytics dashboard that almost showcased the data flowing from A-B-C-D and how this data is compiled to the broader financial reporting.
“The dashboard not only helped with the data integrity part, but highlighted other key factors such as where trains are facing the most force majeure and why and which suburbs have the most issues due to infrastructure problems at the stations.”
All of this could directly assist the agency to identify investment opportunities and improvement points and communicate this information back to its stakeholders.
It was a satisfying outcome for Hasan. “I'm a proud auditor because I’m passionate about helping businesses survive and thrive,” he says.
Celebrate #AuditorProud from 27 September 2021 to 1 October 2021.
Visit the Audit and Assurance My CA group for exclusive member resources.
Share your #AuditorProud posts on social media and tag Chartered Accountants ANZ.
Narrowing the audit expectation gap
New report clarifies recommendations for regulators, standard setters and auditors in tackling fraud and addressing going concern issues.Read more
This year, the #AuditorProud celebrations will go for a whole week, recognising auditors and the importance of their role over the past year.Join Us
Meet the audit expert who hated auditing: Fiona Campbell FCA
Here’s how IAASB deputy chair Fiona Campbell FCA turned her loathing into love and a high-flying audit career.Read more
Running the numbers remotely – how COVID changed audit
The coronavirus pandemic triggered rapid changes to the audit industry, with remote audits now the rule.Read more