KPMG Empowers Audit Committee Members

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By Nume Ekeghe

KPMG Nigeria, one of the leading professional services companies in Nigeria, has promised to help improve accountability and governance in organisations in the country through its focus on six key areas in auditing.

The firm made the pledge at its 2019 Audit Committee seminar held in Lagos recently.

Addressing stakeholders, KPMG Partner, Internal Audit Risk and Compliance Services, Tomi Adepoju, said the firm recently carried out a global survey and asked audit committee members to identify the greatest challenges to companies.

The survey showed that effectiveness of risk management program, legal/regulatory compliance and managing cyber security risk, were topped the chart.

Therefore, to address the issues, the firm came up with six agenda which included: to have a relook of the audit committee agenda and workload, sharpen the company’s focus on ethics and compliance, understand how finance team will reinvent itself and add greater value to the business, monitor corporate reporting, reinforce audit quality by setting clear expectations, and by focusing internal audit on the company’s key risk controls as a way of tackling all concerns.

Adepoju said: “We would be increasing audit committee workload to oversee major risks in organisations. For example, cyber risks, supply chain risks, regulatory risks, etc. This is in addition to current oversight responsibilities on internal and external audit functions, financial reporting, internal control, fraud, etc.

“We will closely monitor the tone at the top and culture throughout organisations, as it has been discovered that most organisations lack culture audit. They pay less attention to the attitudes of their staff.

“We will ensure that the companies’ regulatory compliance and monitoring programmes are up-to-date, and likewise ensure the effectiveness of the company’s whistle blower reporting channels and investigation processes.

“In understanding how the financial team reinvent itself and add greater value to business, we would aim at finding out, how the company is leveraging technology to improve efficiencies by automating manual activities, how is finance using data and analytics and artificial intelligence to develop sharper predictive insights and better deployment of capital, and how secure are your finance data and systems, amidst other things.

“We would also be focusing on the new IFRS standards and the impact on the business, systems, control, disclosure, and resource requirement. “We will monitor the integrity of the financial statements of the company, amidst verifying all materials presented with the financial statements.”

In her address, the Assistant Director and Head of Operations Directorate, in the Lagos Zonal Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mrs. Olubukanla Rufai, expressed concern over the increasing numbers of shareholders’ associations.

Rufai said: “Although, SEC does not register shareholders but only recognise them, there are 111 shareholders association already recognised by the commission as of today, and there are so many others still in the process of recognition. At the rate at which they are increasing, if care is not ta ken, we are at the risk of having more shareholders’ associations, than companies; some of which doesn’t even have a traceable office apartment.”

According to her, “Our role in the governance and regulations of shareholders’ associations basically involves balancing the interests of many stakeholders through proper governance systems that enables an entity to set the right objective and prioritise it goals. And also improve the entity’s ability to achieve its objectives.”