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Audit Insights

Auditors bringing their knowledge of market sectors and business issues for the benefit of wider stakeholders, and alerting practitioners to some of the issues they should consider when planning their audits.

In this section

Cyber security and data analytics

Coping with the substantial gap in cyber security

This is the third in the series of Audit insights: cyber security reports. It focuses on the substantial gap in cyber security maturity levels caused by complex legacy IT environments and how business needs to adopt a smarter approach to cyber security laws and standards.

The impact of data analytics on business

Audit insights: data analytics describes external auditor insights into the impact of data analytics on the businesses they audit, and provides management with a high-level approach.

Taking control of the cyber security agenda

Businesses are struggling to turn general awareness and concern into effective action. In this report, we urge businesses to show more urgency and take control of their cyber agenda.

Financial services

Audit insights: investment management

More than half of people aged 21–30 have no pension or make minimum contributions. Despite this, investment managers are not successfully encouraging people to save. In this Audit insights report, external auditors and ICAEW specialist staff explore whether the investment management industry is fit for purpose and use their expert knowledge to identify what changes need to be made.

Improving annual reports

This report highlights seven factors to provide high-quality non-financial reporting. From using credible alternative performance measures, to explaining the reasons for high executive pay and making tax explanations understandable, these recommendations will help make annual reports more coherent, balanced and relevant.

Audit insights: corporate reporting (short guide)

For those who are time poor, this is a short guide that highlights the seven important questions that financial directors, audit committee members and auditors should be asking in order to produce reports that communicate clearly and improve accountability.

Audit insights: insurance

Long term trends shaping insurance are examined in this report. Specifically; how will stakeholders react if better data capabilities mean more people are uninsurable, and what if non-insurers develop better data analysis? Could the growth in unadvised sales raise mis-selling risk, and how do insurers secure investment returns in a low interest rate environment?

Industry sectors

Audit insights: charities - positive impacts in challenging times

Charities play a significant role in the fabric of our national life, but they are being scrutinised more closely than ever. In this Audit insight, ICAEW has collated the expert knowledge of external auditors and ICAEW specialist staff to set out a series of recommendations to help charities to demonstrate their positive impact and become more resilient and transparent.

Running a small business

Audit insights: small businesses highlight opportunities and pitfalls in running a small business. It advises SMEs to plan realistically; build digital skills to match growth aspirations; anticipate cash collection delays; and develop mental agility.

Delivering a construction sector fit for future

Here we identify five areas of interest to construction businesses, clients, investors and policy-makers. These are: work, collaboratively to help plan for the future; procure and bid responsibly and deliver consistently; address the shortage of skilled labour; be more transparent in reporting; and invest information systems.

Manufacturing: a roller-coaster sector

Audit insights: manufacturing highlights four burning issues: the highly cyclical nature of the sector; funding requirements; attracting, retaining and rewarding people; and management information and IT systems.

Retail

Audit insights: retail – are you ready for a radical change?

The balance sheets of retailers are being radically transformed by the new international accounting standard IFRS 16 Leases, but its impact is being felt commercially by all retail stakeholders. The report helps retailers and external users of accounts to understand some of the important issues that will need to be addressed as the standard is implemented.

Like-for-like retail sales is not the only story

Retailers’ profit margins are addressed in this Audit insights: retail report as we focus on three key impact areas: changing business models; the living wage; and the volatility of foreign exchanges.

Striking the right balance between online sales and high street presence

This update to the 2013 Audit insights: retail report raises three specific issues and concerns that auditors are aware of in the 2014 retail landscape: understanding retail business changes; trust, transparency and reporting; and impacts of change.

Changing business models leading to changing risks

Audit insights: retail 2013 provides valuable insights into the retail sector in three key areas: IT systems and data management, retailer's property portfolio, and key performance indicators.