by Paul Quealey
Recently, I attended a workshop coordinated by Kimberly Lewis (General Manager of Hunter Prelude) and Grace McLean (NFP Connect) about the importance of getting the Board member skills composition right for a not-for-profit.

This session talked about the experience and insight Board members can bring to an organisation in helping them meet their objectives and vision.

I related to this session, as I currently sit on several Boards in a non-executive capacity. The ability to bring my finance, risk, corporate governance, and financial reporting expertise has always been rewarding. This experience was particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, with long nights sitting at my laptop preparing various cash flow scenarios and JobKeeper assessments for these organisations.

The Importance of Audit Assurance

Reflecting on this workshop over the past few weeks and my experiences as an external auditor and a non-executive director, no matter the subject knowledge or experience a director has, without the right information or assurances from internal or external sources, a Board is not able to effectively discharge their responsibilities.

As independent auditors and advisors, we are in the fortunate position that we have the ultimate access to all information we require to enable us to complete our services. And while at the end of the day our ultimate responsibility is to render an opinion, access to this information can allow us to add so much more value to our clients.

Key areas where this independent assurance must be provided include:

  • Superannuation and Goods and Services Tax: Given the personal liability of directors for any failure to meet the statutory reporting and payment timeframes, directors must be obtaining assurance that these requirements are met.
  • Accreditation or Licensing Conditions: Failure to maintain these accreditations could impact an entity’s ability to open its doors and provide its services. Regular assessment and management of compliance risk concerns is paramount, with a review and update from your external auditor providing assurances over compliance.
  • Processing and Payment of Suppliers and Employees: A corporate responsibility for every entity is a) timely and prompt payment to suppliers, and b) paying employees in accordance with awards or agreements. With the number of organisations appearing in the media for not fulfilling these minimum corporate responsibilities, directors must be obtaining an appropriate level of independent assurance that these “must dos” are being done and the risks of fraud or error are being appropriately managed.
How We Can Help

If, as a CEO/General Manager or Director, you don’t feel you are obtaining the required level of assurances to discharge your corporate responsibilities, please contact Paul Quealey below to discuss the steps that can be taken to protect yourself and your organisation.