Do government stakeholders, including taxpayers, understand the depth and breadth of an audit? This section examines how stakeholders view audit and how relationships impact the audit process. It is clear from the interviews that education is a clear solution to improving understanding and expectations, both for the general public and for stakeholders within government.
The views in this section include the following:
- There is an ‘expectations gap’ between the assurance that the audit provides and what people think it provides. This expectations gap was most prevalent among taxpayers and, in some cases, taxpayers or the general public who do not understand what an audit provides.
- Government institutions understand the scope of a financial statement audit; however, many within government believe that audit already provides assurance beyond the financial statements, including assurance over the adequacy of internal control.
- Despite jurisdictional differences, trust is central to all audits.
- Auditor independence is critical in being able to provide assurance over financial statements, and this should never change.