Governance is becoming more complex and challenging in the COVID-19 new normal, as audit committees can surely attest.
The Audit Committee Conference 2021 organised by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants and the Institute of Internal Auditors Malaysia explores the pressing issues that audit committees face in this turbulent year, and how they can frame, prioritise and manage these issues to deliver robust oversight and good corporate governance.
In 2021, it is vital to balance technical skills and vast experience with the “softer” qualities of agility, empathy and resilience that will differentiate an effective audit committee from the herd.
The Audit Committee Conference 2021, to be held over two half-days on March 15 and 16 2021, will share strategies and best practices that audit committees can use to pivot to a more effective approach for good governance. The following are some highlights of the sessions:
1. 2021 AUDIT COMMITTEE AGENDA
Understand how to set an effective audit committee agenda for 2021 by prioritising material issues and customising your own unique board audit agenda in this panel session.
2. PRIORITISING ESG FOR BETTER DISCLOSURE
Investors and stakeholders are demanding more information on ESG as part of the movement towards socially conscious investing. This session advises audit committees to collaborate with management for enhanced oversight and integration of ESG information and risks into better quality disclosure.
3. AGILE AND RESILIENT – LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE AUDIT COMMITTEE
This discussion explores how the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic over the past year have affected audit committees. Senior audit committee members will share their experiences and assess how the state of their relationships with their Board and management shaped their responses towards the crisis.
4. INVESTING IN A COMPETENT FINANCE FUNCTION
This session looks at how audit committees can take the lead in identifying and addressing the challenges and/or bottlenecks at the board level when it comes to investing in finance resourcing and approving budgets for finance function investment, especially for technology transformation. This is essential to strengthen the competency of the finance function as well as the quality and reliability of financial reporting.
5. TECHNOLOGIES, RISK AND AUDITOR’S FOCUS
Internal auditors are a pivotal support for board audit committees. This panel session highlights the key issues that internal auditors must focus on with the increasing use of emerging technologies in the financial reporting process. This technological shift puts further emphasis on management’s internal control over financial reporting and requires that internal auditors exercise heightened judgement and professional scepticism when assessing the sufficiency and source of audit evidence, as they will likely be less able to design traditional substantive tests (e.g. tests of details or substantive analytical procedures) that would provide sufficient appropriate audit evidence.