Caroline Spencer

Managing Partner

Caroline is a founding partner of Vista Advisory and a senior advisor to public sector executives and regulated entities. 

Caroline leads a team of financial and performance audit professionals to directly influence and improve public sector assurance and governance across six jurisdictions in Australia and the Pacific.

Caroline embraces the challenge of helping shape a high-performing and sustainable public sector that operates with accountability, probity and within legislative mandate to maintain the trust and confidence of decision-makers and the communities they serve.

Having also worked as an auditor for the private sector, Caroline has experience with all types of audit and assurance frameworks – including financial, internal, compliance and performance auditing. Prior to relocating from Sydney to Canberra, Caroline worked for a ‘Big 4’ and a smaller Chartered firm, where she audited publicly listed companies and some of Australia’s largest utilities.

Caroline is responsible for Vista Advisory’s strategic leadership  and promoting quality in the delivery of all Vista Advisory’s public sector engagements.

Recent statutory-based appointments:

  • Parliament of Western Australia’s Joint Standing Committee on Audit, In 2015, Caroline was appointed by the Parliament to lead the statutory review of the performance of the Auditor General for Western Australia and his office under the Auditor General Act 2006 (WA). The report is available from the Joint Audit Committee’s parliamentary page.
  • Australian Electoral Commission, In 2015, the Australian Electoral Commissioner appointed Caroline as an independent member of the AEC’s Business Assurance (audit) Committee to provide him with advice and assurance on the agency’s financial and performance reporting, systems of risk management and oversight and internal control (2015 – current).
  • Clean Energy Regulator, appointed as an adviser to the Auditor Performance Advisory Committee and lead 
inspector of registered auditors (2015 – current).
  • Public Trustee and Guardian Investment Board, In 2016, the Attorney-General appointed Caroline for her public sector governance skills and experience as a member of the board to advise the Public Trustee and Guardian on the investment of money (2016 – current).
  • Department of the Environment and Energy, Sydney Harbour Federation Trust and Director of National Parks  – appointed as independent member, Portfolio Audit Committee, to to provide advice and assurance to the accountable authorities of three Commonwealth entities (current).

Recent professional engagements include:

  • Australian, ACT, Victorian and Queensland Audit Offices, Caroline provides overall leadership for Vista Advisory’s delivery of performance audits and quality reviews of performance audits for various Australian audit offices, completed to assess compliance with assurance standards and Vista Advisory ‘better practice’ and inform audit office executives how their audit functions are performing.
  • Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI, through NZ Office of the Auditor-General), led the cross-cultural organisational capacity review (2013-14).
  • Department of the Environment, various engagements including development of the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the National Environmental Science Programme (2015); independent evaluation of the National Environmental Research Program (NERP, available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/science/nerp/evaluation), and financial reporting training to grants management team.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Business (University of Technology Sydney)
  • Chartered Accountants Professional Year Program
  • Company Director’s Course
  • Certificate IV Training and Assessment

Professional Memberships

  • FCPA
  • Chartered Accountant
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD)
  • Governance Institute of Australia (AGIA)

Community and honorary roles and appointments

Caroline has contributed her financial, audit and corporate governance skills to serve her community in numerous honorary roles and appointments, including in the aged care, volunteer firefighting and recreation sectors. Caroline has also facilitated training for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and acts as a mentor for young professionals.

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