Transparency Report 2021

This year, we embarked on a new strategy around CARE: we care about our people, clients and communities and support them to thrive. While our Audit & Assurance service line has had some enormous challenges during the year ended June 2021, this CARE focus has assisted us to have one of our most successful years where we achieved numerous milestones. These achievements have come about through a dedicated focus on key areas affecting our business, our people, as well as our clients.

The biggest challenge the international audit community faced during the year was the impact of COVID-19 on resourcing levels and the consequential impact on our people. There has been the inability to travel (nationally and internationally), a high demand for talent with the ‘auditor mindset’ and the appeal of the audit industry from a litigious and work/life balance perspective. This has resulted in a lack of resources available to support a growing industry with growing complexities. Our team has been innovative in our approach to technology, we have maintained a focus on our clients and markets
where we can add the best value and have been able to draw support from our international network on remote resourcing. This has enabled us to thrive in the face of this challenging environment.

During the reporting period and much of the last year, many of our offices across the country – at different times – were in some form of lockdown with teams working remotely. While we have responded quickly to ensuring that our audit teams are equipped to deliver quality audit services and client service – wherever they are working – the impact on team learning and mental wellbeing is worrying for the long term. We are working with our teams to address the impact of working in lockdown and flexible working going forward.

Our team deserves all the credit. Their resilience, compassion for one another and passion for client service and quality has made this possible.

During this year, we have accelerated our strategic plan to embed technology in how we conduct audits. This plan ranged from how we share information remotely, to tools to better analyse client data and the risks associated with financial reporting. Initial indications are that this investment has proven to increase efficiency, as well as increase the ability to understand the risk within data used to form financial statements. This is an area which is constantly changing and the development of our team to specialise in these tools will be a focus for us.

Following on from the Parliamentary Joint Committee recommendations on the regulation of the audit industry in Australia, we have seen continued activity relating to audit quality and assessment of auditor independence. Grant Thornton was subject to a number of reviews (internal to our network and external) during the year. These reviews indicate that our investment in audit quality is achieving the right outcomes with still more work to be done in the auditing of material judgements and disclosure of complex transactions.

Our people are passionate as a result of the remarkable clients with which we work. Our emphasis on industry knowledge, subject matter expertise and focus on where we can add value has assisted us in attracting and retaining strategic clients. We have initiated a number of learning platforms not only for our people, but also for our clients on implications and trends within financial reporting.

The economic environment has provided some challenges for the audit industry the world over, and has challenged the way we have approached complex issues. But our strategic focus on the CARE underpinning all that we do and how we work with our people, our clients and the communities in which we live and operate – as well as investing in and using innovative techniques – has put us in a strong position and will be our focus for the year ahead.