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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. Read the publications from ICAEW Audit Assurance Faculty released as part of its Journey Milestone programme of work, which examined the challenge of assuring all of the annual report.

Publication Series 

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. With this consultation, we asked the people responsible for preparing business information what they felt about assurance.

Respondents emphasised that they saw external assurance as part of a wider context of guarding against the risks associated with information flows. As the assurance market develops, it is important that businesses are equipped to get the right kind of assurance in the right place.  

To better support information owners, we have combined our internal audit resources  with our other assurance guidance, providing one new comprehensive assurance resource.

We have continued to develop support for newcomers to the assurance market, such as the jargon-busting assurance glossary.

We have also worked with experienced practitioners to develop best practice guidance on assurance mapping , the process by which an organisation can identify its assurance needs.

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.

 

Page reviewed March 2018. Next review due March 2019.

ICAEW's assurance resource

This page is part of ICAEW’s online assurance resource, which replaces the Assurance Sourcebook.

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