On the money with Gavin Hinks

gavin hinks

This is unlike the current set of big-yawn monochrome reports we currently
see in annual reports, which generally read: ‘Yes we did this audit. And we’re
now signing it off.’

Of course, they don’t actually read that way, but they might as well for all
we learn from them.

But lets go back to where we started? What Peter Butler, CEO of Governance
for Owners, said was that he wanted auditors to include the range and skills of
the audit committee members, the performance review of an audit committee, the
details of meetings the auditors have attended and what was covered during those

What was covered during those meetings?That’s the kind of phrase that could
send a tingle of terror down the spine of many a CFO.

Interepreted one way, that could mean: We want to know about the time the
auditors came in and said, ‘there’s all this revenue you’ve booked, but we can’t
find the despatch notices for the goods that should have been sold. Where are

Or the time the auditors came in and said, ‘your books say you have £2m in
cash, but we can’t see any trace of it in your bank statements’.

Now that’s really colourful stuff. But what I suspect we’ll get is this:
‘Agenda. Point 1. Revenue recognition. Point 2. Cash balances.’ We’ll be left to
devine the rest.

Having said that, it would be enough for some people – those skilled in
reading between the lines.

Anyway, don’t expect any change this side of the ice caps melting. The debate
about audit reports comes around with tupor inducing regularity yet nothing ever
changes. The debate is frozen in time. Can’t see Peter Butler heating things up
now either.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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