Audit Committees – evolving role and managing the personal risk of accountable authorities

CPA Australia, in conjunction with the International Governance and Performance Research Centre at Macquarie University (IGAP), has released a short discussion paper on the Evolving role and Exposures of Audit Committees.

Although focussed on the private sector, and the value that audit committees bring to the functions and obligations of the Board, the key points and lessons are relevant to the public sector.

Caroline Spencer, Vista Advisory’s Managing Partner considers that as community expectations of an efficient and effective public sector continue to grow, and financial frameworks strengthen the focus on performance and accountability (such as those underpinned by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth)), the role of the audit committee has never been more important in helping public sector accountable authorities (CEOs) manage their personal risk.

The CPA/IGAP paper (available at: Evolving role of audit committees)  provides some thought-provoking lessons from recent Australian cases, including around the independence of the audit committee from management and the auditors and the role of the audit committee in satisfying themselves that auditors are providing a high quality audit.