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The journey: assuring non-financial information

Anybody making a crucial decision needs to be able to rely on the information in front of them. Assurance is the accountant’s word for the work that builds that kind of confidence. 

Businesses and those who run them, investors and other stakeholders, accountants and regulators are all on a journey to find the right assurance over the right information.

In 2013, ICAEW brought together investors and assurance experts to discuss this fast-developing field and created  The Audit and Assurance Innovation Panel (TAAIP).  The panel works to share emerging best practice, develop innovative thinking and look ahead to where the assurance market is going next. 

As part of its work TAAIP produces publications discussing developments in the assurance market.

Latest publication

The Audit and Assurance Innovation Panel (TAAIP) has taken a closer look at milestones on the assurance journey, sharing existing best practice and innovative thinking to help assurance providers find their way.

Over the past three years, TAAIP has been tracking the development of the assurance market. We’ve seen that many different kinds of assurance are on offer, and that savvy businesses are increasingly sophisticated in the way that they coordinate their risks, information flows, and assurance maps.

Now the panel has launched a consultation asking the people who need assurance to share their opinions on what is useful and what should be done. TAAIP are asking trustees, executive directors and NEDs, along with investors, regulators and those undertaking assurance activities to share their thoughts. Download the full consultation paper.

Recent papers

Every business has to make sure that its reporting is right in all the ways that matter to its stakeholders. Materiality – deciding what matters – has to be determined properly by the assurance provider as well, or their scrutiny on behalf of those same stakeholders will not be truly useful. This paper suggests five factors that need to be considered when determining materiality in non-financial information.

The right kind of communication includes the right information – disclosing the wrong mix can be seriously misleading. This paper asks if it is possible to give reliable independent assurance over the completeness of a set of KPIs.

Good risk reporting enables an investor to make informed choices about risk and return. Assurance brings a level of scrutiny, but should it be internal or external? This paper discusses the possibilities.

KPIs hit the headlines, but they aren’t covered by the statutory audit. This paper looks at the practicalities of using external assurance to give boards and investors the confidence to rely on these important figures.

The annual report includes the financial statements, but isn’t covered by the audit opinion over those financial statements. This paper launched The journey milestone series by reviewing the state of the market and asking whether we are moving towards a single assurance opinion over the whole of the annual report.

To learn more about the work of TAAIP, and to get involved, please contact Ruth Ward at ruth.ward@icaew.com.

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