SMSF auditors need ‘shake up’ to stay relevant
With automation of SMSF audits “entirely possible”, the industry needs to consider non-traditional processes such as auditing transactions as they occur, according to one auditing firm.
It is “no longer acceptable” for auditors to be receiving client information months after transactions have occurred, said chief executive of Engage Super Audits Jo Heighway at a SPAA state chapter event in Sydney last week.
“That means effectively our advice is almost way too late to even be relevant to anybody. Real-time information is what everyone wants,” Ms Heighway said.
“This is my vision: as trustees are spending their money, as they are buying those investments, why can we not be auditing those transactions at that moment as well? And if something is going awry, we flash up and we say there’s something wrong, here’s the references or here’s the information that you need from a compliance point of view.
“At the end of the day, we need to remember our goal is education not fining, not penalties, not getting trustees disqualified; we want them successfully saving for their retirement and we want the SMSF sector to be operating as efficiently as possible. So it is absolutely not efficient for auditors to be looking at transactions two years after they’ve occurred.”
Referencing comments made by Smithink’s founding director David Smith, Ms Heighway said she believes a fully automated SMSF audit process is feasible.
“I believe it’s entirely possible to fully automate the audit process, including auditor judgement, because I think it’s very possible to program the rules around judgement and eliminate inconsistent auditor opinions.”