Non-Financial Disclosure: What “Audit Assurance” Looks Like
One of the suggestions that keeps turning up for ESG disclosures is that companies should explain how they verify the accuracy of the info or provide some external assurance – for example, see the Chamber’s recent “best practices.” A 16-page memo from the Center for Audit Quality discusses shareholders’ increasing interest in non-financial info and notes some industry guidance for auditors on how to review it.
From the company perspective, a 52-page guide – from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales – is even more helpful because it explains what the assurance process would look like, how to decide whether it’s right for your company, and how to enter into an assurance engagement. The report shows that this endeavor doesn’t have to be “all-or-nothing” – e.g. a project’s scope could range from:
– Site visits to head office only, no detailed tests, only reviews
– Site visits to 5 of 10 locations, detailed tests at 2 sites and a review of information at other locations
– Site visits to 7 of 10 locations, detailed tests at all 4 major sites and a review of information at other locations
-Liz Dunshee, TheCorporateCounsel.net January 23, 2020
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