SMSF auditors warned ‘change to stay relevant’

There have been fresh calls for SMSF auditors to shake up their “old-school” audit techniques to stay relevant and best deliver what is required by the SIS Act.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, chief executive of Engage Super Audits Jo Heighway said “traditional” audit methodology does not deliver a better quality audit experience or outcome.

Rather, she said it results in the application of “outdated” audit procedures that don’t address the risks most relevant to the digital age.

“It quite simply doesn’t make sense to apply old-school audit techniques to highly advanced SMSF administration systems,” Ms Heighway said.

“Change is vital if we are to remain relevant in an era where trustees, their advisers and even the regulators are able to access so much valuable information in real time thanks to technology. That means rethinking everything we do.”

Auditors are increasingly being viewed as a “low value” statutory requirement, Ms Heighway said, and stressed the value of real-time SMSF audits.

“The only way for auditors to continue to remain relevant and demonstrate real value is to sit within the technology system and use their specific area of expertise to add greater integrity to the system as events are happening,” Ms Heighway said.

“The best way for SMSF auditors to deliver what is required by SIS s 129 is to completely rethink the technology and audit methodology required to undertake our audit testing in real time,” she added.

This echoes Ms Heighway’s comments late last year, when she called for a “shake up” of the auditing profession, saying it’s “no longer acceptable” for auditors to be receiving client information months after transactions have occurred.

“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.

See more from Jo Heighway in an upcoming edition of SMSF Adviser magazine.

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