Audit and assurance services form a major part of the work we do for our clients on a continuing basis. In Malta, PwC is the leading audit service provider. As at 30 June 2018 the firm engaged around 227 partners and professional staff in Audit and Assurance services who serve our client base that include companies involved in a wide range of businesses such as manufacturing, hospitality, retailing, information technology and financial services.
We carry out audit and assurance services to a number of listed companies, regulated entities such as insurance companies, banks and other public interest entities. Our list of clients includes not only subsidiaries of multi-national groups but also the small and medium-sized local and international setups.
Our assurance team is highly trained and committed to provide statutory and regulatory audits of the highest standards. We aim to exceed client expectations, by continuously reviewing our own effectiveness and efficiency, and by maintaining close communication with the client throughout the audit process.
Through a broad range of innovative, high-quality and cost effective solutions we can help your business improve its financial control and regulatory reporting systems. In every case, the PwC audit is underpinned by our deep industry knowledge, wide experience and global network of skilled professionals.
The financial statement audit has never been more important. In today’s business environment there is more scrutiny and scepticism of a company’s financial statements than ever before. Investors are seeking more assurance in relation to corporate governance and reporting and they expect greater reliability, more oversight and clear evidence of internal controls. Corporate management, boards and audit committees, internal and external auditors all have important roles to play in providing assurance to investors by executing their respective responsibilities. Meeting investor expectations begins with the completeness and accuracy of information contained in a company’s financial statements.
Regulatory compliance and reporting needs to be viewed as a natural extension of the governance duties shouldered by top management and corporate boards. Moreover, only good governance can ensure that compliance is aligned with the company’s business objectives and risk management strategies and is thereby adding real value and not just costs to the organisation. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that the spirit of compliance, as well as the letter of the law, is embraced in every corner of the enterprise.
For all organisations engaged in activities that are regulated, PwC provides support, advice, and assurance to help you manage your regulatory risks. In an ever-changing regulatory environment, we can help ensure that you identify, manage, and control any exiting and future regulatory risks. A proactive rather than a monitoring approach to regulation is now a full time strategic necessity.
Our people can also assist in the evaluation of new regulations on your business model, provide advice with getting your business authorised by a regulator or provide support in dealing with regulatory enforcement actions and remediation exercises.
The good news: with many entities worldwide applying IFRS, investors are able to understand and compare financial statements from companies around the world. The not-so-good news: it could be a challenge getting through the IFRS conversion process and initial reporting period, and keeping up with updates to IFRS reporting requirements. Conversion to IFRS is much more than a technical accounting issue. IFRS may significantly affect any number of a company’s day-to-day operations or even impact the reported profitability of the business itself.
Our Systems and Process Assurance (SPA) practice provides services related to controls around the financial reporting process, including financial business process and IT management controls.
In today’s business world, IT and financial reporting environments are becoming increasingly complex while even greater reliance is being placed on the information produced by these systems and processes. The involvement of our SPA specialists is essential to providing trust and quality in the assurance business, with the renewed emphasis on data, controls, and secure, reliable and efficient information systems. Our SPA specialists are integrated into financial audit teams. SPA provides both audit and audit-related services such as compliance to regulations. These include IT general control reviews, application controls reviews across various industries, as well as services to improve security and controls.
If you need confidence in the quality of the information produced by your IT systems or you rely on financial information from a third party and need independent assurance on that information, we can help. Our services enable you to gain comfort that your systems, processes and risk management procedures are operating effectively and within a well controlled environment.
The firm continues investing in the suite of tools that support the PwC Audit with three unique technologies — Aura, Halo and Connect. At PwC, we are driving audit innovation, with technology at its heart. The ability to merge market-leading technology with the skills of our people and a robust audit approach is now central to our global audit strategy and delivery. It is the fusion of these three elements that defines our value and drives the audit. The result is quality, efficiency and insight, delivered in equal measure.
In today’s world, technology is continuously changing the way we live, work and interact with each other. It is crucial that the audit profession keeps pace with such change and is proactive in understanding how emerging technologies can be leveraged to transform the audit process making it more efficient and value adding.
We’re already applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the audit process through PwC’s GL.ai machine learning algorithm to spot patterns and anomalies in large bodies of both structured and unstructured data. Any problems identified are recognised and remembered by the machine, which “learns” from its experiences and applies such learning to the next set of audit data. AI will also further transform the audit through deep learning, which is a type of AI that can analyse semi-structured/unstructured data such as emails, documents, logs, audio files and other digital material to spot anomalies and patterns which might be impossible to spot through conventional techniques.
Blockchain, another emerging technology could drastically improve, streamline and transform the audit process as we know it. The immutable nature of the technology provides auditors with unaltered audit evidence, greatly increasing the trust in information and reducing the need for authenticity and integrity checks. This coupled with improved data availability will provide auditors with virtually real-time and continuous audit access to all the required information related to the financial transactions of a company without needing to audit them through a point-in-time procedure as is done currently. This would directly lead to a saving in time and resources and allow for more effective auditing.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will represent dramatic and disruptive change in current audit practice that promises to allow auditors to operate more efficiently. RPA has the potential to automate and execute certain audit procedures (e.g. reconciliations) allowing audit teams to focus on more value adding ones thus enhancing audit efficiency and effectiveness.
Head of Assurance, PwC Malta
Tel: +356 2564 7292