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ICAEW guide to clear up confusion around assurance

ICAEW and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) have launched a new guide for businesses to help them better understand how non-financial assurance works.


January 2020

Based on insights collected through work with ICAEW and WBCSD members and stakeholders, A Buyer’s Guide to assurance on non-financial information aims to provide more clarity on the topic.

Companies told ICAEW and WBCSD that the marketplace for assurance services on non-financial information was often hard to understand and full of misconceptions, such as how types of assurance differ and which elements of reporting need to be audited or assured.

Mario Abela, director of redefining value at WBCSD, said: “The capital markets are calling for better non-financial information to assess corporate performance. Assurance is an important means of enhancing the credibility of non-financial information in corporate reports. Just as investors don’t accept unaudited financial statements, other claims made in corporate reports also need to be subject to scrutiny by a third-party assurance provider.

The guide is divided into two parts; the first explains assurance to readers unfamiliar with the topic, and the second sets out practical guidance, considerations and tips for those involved in procuring assurance services.

Dr Nigel Sleigh-Johnson, ICAEW’s head of financial reporting, audit and assurance said: “Given the recent inquiries into the audit profession following a spate of high-profile corporate collapses, assurance is likely to play a bigger role in future in the corporate reporting process. It is important that boards and management understand exactly what assurance is, the value it can bring, and how best to procure services that meet the needs of the business, its shareholders and other key stakeholders.

The guide is available online.

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