Auditee response to our work

Our audits continue to be well regarded

Overall CFO performance index for financial audits 76, compared to 78 last year
Overall performance index for performance audits 81, compared to 71 last year

Surveying our auditees

Each year, we measure our auditees’ satisfaction with our services through a survey. The survey results and feedback provide valuable information on our performance. We use an independent research company to conduct the survey and clients have the option of responding anonymously.

In 2017–18, for our financial audit clients, we invited 388 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) or General Managers (GMs) from our state government, local government and university auditees to participate in the survey. This was the first year we surveyed local government General Managers on the audits performed under our new local government mandate. We also invited 181 Audit and Risk Committee Chairs (ARC Chairs) from our state government and university auditees to participate. The response rates were similar to last year, with responses from 72 per cent of CFOs/GMs and 78 per cent of ARC Chairs.

For our performance audit auditees, we invited 24 agency contacts to respond to the survey and received a response rate of 71 per cent, again similar to last year.

Overall performance indices

The overall CFO performance index for financial audits remained similar to last year, at 76 compared to 78 in 2016–17. ARC Chairs’ satisfaction decreased from 86 last year to 81. The overall performance index for performance audits increased significantly, from 71 last year to 81.

Satisfaction with audit process

Financial audit satisfaction improves across key measures

The CFO performance index for our audit process decreased slightly from 82 to 79. CFOs were particularly positive about:

  • our auditors meeting agreed deadlines, the 89 per cent result similar to 92 last year
  • our auditors conducting themselves professionally during the audit, the 98 per cent result similar to 100 last year
  • senior staff being appropriately involved in the audit, although down on last year’s result of 97 per cent, still very positive at 91
  • our auditors having the professional skills and knowledge required to conduct the audit, remaining at 94 per cent
  • our client service plan adequately informing them about audit strategy, key milestones and cost, the 95 per cent result similar to last year’s 98.

CFOs were less positive about:

  • our auditors communicating effectively, down to 87 per cent from 96
  • our auditors adequately understanding their organisation, down to 81 per cent from 92
  • being promptly informed of significant issues identified during the audit, down to 80 per cent from 90
  • their organisation’s staff members’ time being used efficiently, down to 82 per cent from 88.

ARC Chairs’ ratings of our audit process were similar or improved from last year across all areas except one. Ninety-eight per cent of ARC Chairs agreed that we promptly informed them of significant issues, 99 per cent agreed our auditors adequately understood their organisation, and 99 per cent agreed our auditors had the professional skills and knowledge to conduct the audit. However, the percentage of ARC Chairs who agreed our auditors met agreed deadlines decreased significantly from 99 to 84.

Satisfaction with audit process %
Financial audit clients (CFO only)

Satisfaction with the performance audit process significantly increased

The audit process performance index for performance audits was 81, a significant increase on last year’s 72 and representing a five-year high for this measure. Ninety-four per cent agreed our auditors communicated effectively, up from 78. Seventy-seven per cent agreed our auditors adequately understood their organisation, up significantly from 39. Another area of significant improvement was auditees agreeing we promptly informed them of the significant issues/findings as they arose during the audit, up from 71 per cent last year to 94.

An area for improvement includes our auditors meeting agreed deadlines, the result decreased significantly from 82 per cent last year to 71.

Satisfaction with audit process %
Performance audit clients 

Satisfaction with audit reporting

Financial audit results steady

The CFO performance index result of 79 for audit reporting was similar to 81 last year. CFOs were particularly positive about our:

  • management letters communicating the audit findings clearly, the 96 per cent result on par with 97 last year
  • Client Service Reports communicating audit findings and issues clearly, up from 97 per cent to 99
  • having adequate opportunity to comment on audit findings and issues, up from 91 per cent to 94.

CFOs were less positive about audit opinions being issued in a timely manner, down from 98 per cent to 94, and management letters being balanced and fair, down from 93 per cent to 89.

Ninety-nine per cent of ARC Chairs were positive about our Client Service Reports and management letters communicating findings and issues clearly. ARC Chairs were less positive about our management letters and Client Service Reports being issued in a timely manner, with management letters down to 82 per cent from 96, and Client Service Reports down to 86 per cent from 98. 

Satisfaction with audit reporting %

Financial audit clients (CFO only)

Performance audit reporting satisfaction at a five-year high

The performance index for performance audit reporting increased from 71 in 2017 to 83. This is a five-year high for this measure and well above our target.

All reporting survey areas improved. The number of auditees who agreed the tabled audit report was factually accurate improved from 74 per cent to 94, and agreement the report was balanced and fair improved from 70 per cent to 77. Ninety-four per cent of auditees agreed our reports communicated the findings and issues clearly, up significantly from 70 last year.

Media releases in particular had significant increases in auditee satisfaction. Ninety-four per cent agreed our media releases communicated the key audit findings and issues clearly, up from 71, and 82 per cent agreed they were balanced and fair, up from 57.

Satisfaction with audit reporting %
Performance audit clients

Satisfaction with audit value

Financial audit value down

Our CFO performance index for financial audit value is 71, similar to 73 in 2017. However, there were decreases across all value measures. Ninety per cent of CFOs agreed they value the assurance obtained from our financial statement audits, down from 98, and 53 per cent of CFOs agreed our financial audit services provide value for money, down from 64.

Our financial audit services providing value for money also decreased with ARC Chairs, with 66 per cent agreeing, down from 75 last year and representing a five-year low for this measure. However, ARC Chairs continue to value the assurance they obtain from our statutory financial statement audits, improved from 97 per cent in 2017 to 100 per cent this year.

Satisfaction with audit value %
Financial audit clients (CFO only)

Performance audit value improves

The audit value performance index for performance audits improved from 69 in 2016, to 79, a five-year high for this measure and significantly above our target. Ninety-four per cent of respondents agreed that the timing of the performance audit was appropriate, up from 57, while 88 per cent agreed that the audit provided a balanced assessment of the management of the activity, up from 74. When it came to respondents agreeing that the audit will help improve the performance of the audited activity, there was a significant increase in the results, from 70 per cent in 2017 to 94 per cent this year.

Satisfaction with audit value %
Performance audit clients

In line with other audit offices

We have been comparing our auditee satisfaction with other Australian audit offices since 2005. In 2017–18, our results were in line with other audit offices for our financial audit auditees. The overall performance index for the Audit Office is 78, compared to 80 across all offices. We are also in line with the other audit offices on audit process, with the Audit Office index at 77 and the average also 77, and on audit reporting, with the Audit Office index at 79 and the average also 79. However, we are below the other Audit Office’s on audit value, with the Audit Office index at 79 and the average 84.

For our performance audit auditees, our results are significantly ahead of the other audit offices. The overall performance index for Audit Office performance audits is 83 compared to 73 across all offices.

The year ahead

In 2018–19, we will:

  • under our ‘Local Government’ strategic initiative, work harder to ensure our audit process, reporting and perceptions of value in this sector are improved as we undertake our second year of local government audits under our new mandate
  • in our ‘Influencing for Impact’ strategic initiative, develop a strategy for better engaging with our external stakeholders, including our auditees. This aims to ensure we deliver insights in our reports that are of a high quality, are valued, and lead to improved public sector reporting and performance.

For more information on our strategic initiatives see the year ahead.