Working with your auditor

Getting the most out of an annual audit works both ways – the better prepared public entities are for our audit team’s visit, the smoother the audit will go for everyone. And public entities will get better value for their audit fee.

Our audit teams aim to work with public organisations effectively and efficiently to meet all annual audit requirements on time. They will also want to share insights with public organisations about their business, their sector, and the wider public sector environment.

Two things that can really help public organisations get ready for the audit team’s visit are:

Some other steps that public organisations can take to get the most out of the audit are:

Take an active role during the planning stage

At the audit planning stage, we identify business and audit risks and our proposed response to them.

These main risks are documented in our Audit Arrangements Letter. We discuss these with public organisations before finalising our audit plan. Public organisations can make this stage of the work as effective as possible by discussing the issues and questions that concern them and how we can address them together.

Public organisations need to inform us of changes to operating environment, business systems, or processes, and any other matters that may be relevant to the audit.

Help to make the audit as productive as possible

We encourage public organisations to discuss with us where they see ways to improve the efficiency of the audit, perhaps by streamlining their own procedures, improving documentation, or changing the way that their internal audit team operates.

To enable us to carry out the annual audit efficiently and within the proposed audit fee, we expect that, before our audit team arrives, public organisations will have:

  • prepared financial statement account balances and disclosures or performance information results with supporting documentation, clearly showing the main transactions making up each balance or result;
  • prepared robust variance explanations (comparing this year’s actual results with last year’s results and also the budget) for the income statement, the balance sheet, and the statement of cash flows;
  • ensured that people are available when our audit team is on site, to answer questions and provide additional information and records in a timely manner; and
  • done an appropriate level of quality control review over the draft financial statements and statement of service performance before providing them to us for auditing.

Respond to audit findings promptly

We encourage public organisations to respond promptly to any significant findings that we raise as a result of the audit. We also suggest that they prepare action plans to implement recommended improvements and monitor those actions and the resulting improvements.

Use us as a sounding board

We encourage public organisations to consult with us about accounting or auditing issues and problems in advance to avoid surprises and to resolve issues early. We will be as helpful as possible without compromising our independence.

Page last updated: 28 June 2022