“Quality Control Within Audit Firms and Auditors’ Liability” was the topic for a panel discussion hosted on the Westville campus by the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
The inaugural forum provided a platform for panelists from leading auditing firms PwC, KPMG, and Deloitte, and representatives from the Auditor-General’s office, to inform students about practical aspects associated with auditing practices.
Risked based audits versus auditor liability, quality assurance reviews and quality control manuals were among issues discussed by the panelists: Manager at the Auditor-General’s office, Ms Amanda Zungu; Audit Manager at KPMG, Ms Simone Esbend; Mr Manqoba Zungu of Deloitte, and Mr Yusuf Kharwa of PwC.
The School’s Acting Dean, Dr Mabutho Sibanda, said the aim of the event was to develop and nurture sustainable partnerships with the accounting profession.
‘We need to be responsive and proactive to industry needs as we try to move away from being just knowledge factories that regurgitate text book theories. This discussion is aimed at creating new dynamics in teaching and learning in response to the dynamic student, industry and society needs,’ said Sibanda.
Discussions included subjects such as the media’s interpretation or misinterpretations of the Auditor-General’s municipality audits and the manufacturing of audit information due to time constraints.
‘All auditors face auditor liability - it depends on the financials we audit,’ said Zungu. ‘If the risk is high and the audit is politically sensitive it is signed off by a senior member. When it comes to municipality audits, there are instances where the culture of the municipality makes you think everything is risky due to poor controls. Hence, liability depends on the organisation,’ said Zungu.
Regarding the value of employing UKZN graduates, all firms unanimously highlighted the value they added.
‘Trainees play a key role in our teams because no-one can do an audit alone. The expectation is that these trainees have theoretical knowledge which is important as they know the risk involved and they benefit from well-rounded knowledge through being part of the team,’ said Kharwa.