Picture an image of an auditor and likely you will envision a person hunched over a clipboard, scanning endless columns of numbers. But, that image is outdated in the new digital era. Today, the hallmark of an effective auditor isn’t an aptitude for sorting through massive amounts of information manually; it is an ability to navigate relationships, think critically and leverage innovative ideas and cutting-edge technologies.
“We used to joke that auditors were drowning in documents,” says Panos Kakoullis, Deloitte Global Audit & Assurance Business Leader. “Now, dynamic technology has had an enormous impact on the profession. Thanks to new tools and resources, auditors are able to work smarter and more effectively – with each other and with clients.”
Setting the Stage for the Future
From natural language processing to the potential for remote-operated drones, audits are experiencing an unprecedented transformation. Machine-learning based tools like Deloitte’s Argus can rapidly analyze hundreds of documents and identify key areas of interest in a fraction of the time it took a decade ago. What would have required days of review can now happen in near real time.
Similarly, mobile tools have reimagined the asset inspection process (such as inventory counts and property, plant and equipment inspections). Icount, Deloitte’s proprietary tablet-based application, enables auditors to conduct counts, capture results and share the information in real time with all members of the audit team.
Talent Mix: Rise of the Digitally Fluent Auditor
The emergence of new audit technology has recast the talent mix. While recruitment at organizations like Deloitte remains strong — in the latest financial year Deloitte’s Audit headcount grew by approximately 2,000 people over the previous year — the skillsets and professional development needs of the auditor have evolved.
As a result, Deloitte is recruiting across a broader spectrum of skills and actively diversifying the skillsets of new and established auditors. Additionally, Deloitte is working with a variety of business schools across the world to identify and hire from a diverse pool of talent.
Technological Literacy: The Ingredient We Can’t Live Without
Future auditors do not need to all be programmers, but they do need to be fluent in emerging technology and comfortable analyzing and presenting robust streams of data. As important, they need to be savvy navigators of the new digital world, recognizing how and when to leverage new technologies to improve the quality and value of the audit.
“Technology represents a tremendous opportunity not just to fortify the audit process but to enhance what it uncovers and unlock deeper, strategic insights,” said Kakoullis.
Further, developing talent with more advanced data analytics capabilities is critical, from data exploration to data visualization. Business schools and CPA programs are beginning to introduce initiatives focused in these areas. For example, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Rutgers University Business School announced a research initiative in December 2015 that integrates analytics into the audit process and explores how this information can enhance audit quality.
A key test for future auditors will be their ability to turn raw data into actionable insights for stakeholders to consider.
The Human Touch: Premium on Interpersonal Skills
New technology dramatically reduces the time needed for data capture and reconciliation. However, auditors of the future still need superior communication and critical thinking skills to proactively problem solve and manage relationships.
These next-wave auditors must also be masters of collaboration. They must be willing and able to support team members across a range of disciplines. This doesn’t negate the need for deep industry knowledge. Individual curiosity to stay abreast of the changing business landscape will remain critical.
“Strong interpersonal skills are the gold standard across all industries in the digital era,” says Michele Parmelee, Global Managing Principal-Talent, Brand and Communications. “Think about all the stakeholders auditors interact with. They must be able to listen and explain, challenge and build rapport up and down an organization.”
The profession will increasingly place a premium on good judgment and the ability to distinguish the signal from the noise when it comes to information.
The Audit & Assurance profession is continuously evolving but in the next 5 to 6 years, it will change more than it has in the last 30. In order to keep pace with the advancing technology it is essential to match it with the right talent mix.
NSITF board to investigate suspended MD and others over financial misconduct
The board of directors of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has revealed that it will investigate the activities of the suspended Managing Director, 3 Executive Directors, and 8 other senior management staff over financial breaches and gross misconduct.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the board of NSITF, Mr. Austin Enajemo-Isire, in a statement in Enugu on Sunday July 5, 2020.
Enajemo-Isire said that the Managing Director and other top management staff of the organization would have the opportunity to clear themselves of any wrongdoing with the probe panel which was being set up.
While reacting to claims that the suspension did not follow due process as President Muhammadu Buhari did not approve it, Enajemo-Isire said that the approval for the suspension of the affected staff had been conveyed to the Labour Minister in a correspondence referenced SGF. 47/511/T/99 of June 30, 2020.
According to the Chairman, “The minister has conveyed this approval and directives to me for necessary action in terms of setting up a board-driven investigative panel.
“This is to give the affected officers the opportunity to clear themselves of the financial and procurement breaches and acts of gross misconduct and other infractions that gave rise to their prima facie indictment.
“It is in this light that I have decided to call a virtual meeting of the management board on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, to consider the modalities for our action.”
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He, therefore, appealed to staffers of NSITF and their social partners to keep calm and exercise restraint.
A few days ago, Nairametrics reported the suspension of the Managing Director and some senior management staff over corruption allegations. However, the management in its reaction debunked that claim and said that the President did not approve their suspension but that rather, it was the sole decision of the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, who they said was overreaching himself.
Nigerian Content Intervention Fund increased to US$350 million
The fund expansion was one of the decisions taken at the board’s recent meeting.
The governing council of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCMB) announced on Sunday that it has approved a $150 million expansion of the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund, raising it from $200 million to $350 million.
Nigerian Content Intervention Fund Increased to US$350M
The Governing Council of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has approved the expansion of the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund from US$200 million to US$350 million.@NigeriaGov pic.twitter.com/Y0TtDzwALq
— NCDMB (@OfficialNCDMB) July 5, 2020
The fund expansion was one of the decisions taken at the board’s recent meeting on June 16, 2020, chaired by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, who is also the Chairman of the Council.
The board said that $100 million from the additional fund would be used to boost five existing loan products, which include manufacturing in the oil and gas industry, asset acquisition of rigs, marine vessels, contract financing for Nigerian oil service providers, contract financing for oil and gas community contractors, and loan refinancing with Nigerian banks.
The council also announced that $20 million and $30 million would be used for 2 newly developed loan product types (the Intervention Fund for Women in Oil & Gas and PETAN Products) which include Working Capital loans and Capacity Building loans for PETAN member companies.
Started in 2017, the Nigerian content Intervention fund was developed as a $200 Million fund managed by the Bank of Industry, to facilitate on-lending to qualified stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas industry on five loan product types.
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The NCI Fund is a portion of the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF), aggregated from the one percent deduction from the value of contracts executed in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
According to the NCMB, “About 94 percent of the NCI Funds has been disbursed to 27 beneficiaries as at May 2020.”
Seplat gives notice of board meeting, to consider Q2 financial result
The notification is in conformity with the rules of the Nigerian bourse on the obligations of the issuer.
The indigenous oil and gas firm, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc has given notice of its board of director meeting which has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, 2020 through a teleconference in Lagos between 10 am and 3 pm.
This was disclosed in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on July 3, 2020 and signed by the oil firm’s Company Secretary, Edith Onwuchekwa.
The notification is in conformity with the rules of the Nigerian bourse on the obligations of the issuer, in this case, Seplat, to notify the Exchange at least 14 days ahead of the due date and time when the board of directors hopes to meet to discuss its financial results.
The notification from Seplat states, ‘’In line with the rules of the NSE on the obligation of the Issuer to notify the Exchange at least 14 days in advance, in respect of the date and time when the board of directors will meet to discuss its Q2 2020 Financial Results, we wish to state the meeting details as follows,’’
‘’Date: Tuesday 28th July 2020, Venue: Via Teleconference, Lagos, Time: 10.00am – 3.00pm’’
Seplat, in its statement, also said they were going to notify the Exchange of the details of the Board’s decision on the 2020 second-quarter financial results immediately after the meeting as required by the rules.
Nairametrics had earlier reported that following the global oil crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, the oil and gas firm, in its released financial statement, announced that revenue declined from $159.5 million in Q1 2019 to $130.5 million in Q1 2020. That represented an 18.2% drop.
The gross profit dropped from $81.4 million in Q1 2019 to $33.1 million in Q1 2020. This shows a drop of 59.3%. The profit before deferred tax showed a loss of $105.8 million in Q1 2020 as against the profit before deferred tax of $35.8 million that was achieved in Q1 2019. This represented a huge drop of 395.5%.
The company’s CEO, Austin Avuru, said that as part of its strategy, Seplat was shifting focus to its gas business which is less exposed to the oil price drop which is currently ravaging the upstream sector.
The current share price of Seplat on the Nigerian Stock Exchange is N386 per share as at July 3, 2020.