Surveying our clients
Each year, we measure our audit clients’ satisfaction with our services through a survey. The survey results and feedback provide valuable information on our performance and forms part of our stakeholder engagement strategy.
We use an independent research company to conduct the survey for us and clients have the option of responding anonymously.
In 2015–16, for our financial audit clients, we invited 214 agency Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and 160 Audit and Risk Committee Chairs (ARC Chairs) to participate. The response rates were similar to last year, with responses from 73 per cent of CFOs and 73 per cent of ARC Chairs.
For our Performance Audit auditees, we invited 41 agency contacts to respond to the survey and received a response rate of 73 per cent.
Overall performance indices steady or improved
The overall CFO performance index for financial audits increased compared to last year, up to 78 from 74, and our highest result since 2012. ARC Chairs’ satisfaction remained steady at 84 from 83 last year.
The overall performance index for performance audits remained at 70.
In 2016–17, we will:
- in our ‘Influencing for Impact’ strategic initiative, develop a strategy for better engaging with our external stakeholders, including our audit clients. This will ensure we deliver audits that are of a high quality, are valued, and lead to improved public sector reporting and performance
- in our ‘Reporting Process’ strategic initiative, we will implement efficient tools and processes to publish high quality reports. This will ensure our reports clearly communicate to our agency clients the issues our audits are finding, why they are important and what we are recommending.
See here for further details on our strategic initiatives for 2016–17.
Satisfaction with audit process
Financial audit satisfaction improves across key measures
The CFO performance index for our audit process increased from 77 to 80 this year with strong performances in some areas counterbalanced in others. A total of 94 per cent of CFOs agreed that our auditors communicated with them effectively, up from 84 per cent, while 92 per cent agreed our auditors were responsive to their needs, up from 78 per cent. Prompt communication of significant issues was another area of improvement, up to 92 per cent from 81 per cent.
There was a small drop from 81 per cent to 79 per cent of CFOs who agreed there was continuity of auditors on their audit. The percentage who agreed that our auditors met agreed deadlines remained steady at 87 per cent compared to 86 per cent in 2015.
ARC Chairs’ ratings of our audit process were slightly down from last year’s very high scores. Ninety per cent of ARC Chairs agreed that we promptly informed them of significant issues and was the only rating of our audit process below 94 per cent. The percentages of ARC Chairs who agreed there was appropriate involvement of senior staff, and that our auditors adequately understood their organisation, both dropped to 96 per cent, from 99 per cent in 2015.
Satisfaction with the performance audit process stable
The audit process performance index for Performance Audit was 73, similar to last year's 72.
Ninety-seven per cent of clients agreed that our performance auditors conducted themselves professionally during the audit, in line with 96 per cent last year. There was an improved response on auditees being promptly informed of significant issues, up from 75 per cent in 2015 to 79 per cent.
However, the number of clients who agreed auditors communicated with them effectively fell to 79 per cent from 92 per cent in 2015. The percentage of clients who agreed our auditors demonstrated they had the professional skills and knowledge to conduct the audit also fell from 83 per cent to 72 per cent.
Satisfaction with audit reporting
Financial audit results improved across the board
The CFO performance index for audit reporting increased to 81 from 74, and all measures showed an improvement compared with last year’s results. This includes an increase from 86 per cent to 94 per cent of CFOs agreeing that the Audit Office’s management letters communicated the audit findings and issues clearly. Ninety per cent of CFOs also agreed that our management letters contained ‘no surprises’, an increase from 80 per cent in 2015. Timely issue of management letters also significantly improved, to 87 per cent from 79 per cent last year.
ARC Chairs were also positive about our management letters, with 94 per cent agreeing they were issued in a timely manner, up from 91 per cent in 2015. Ninety-seven per cent of ARC Chairs agreed that management letters communicated the audit findings and issues clearly, in line with 98 per cent in 2015.
Performance audit reporting satisfaction up slightly
The performance index for performance audit reporting increased slightly from 71 in 2015 to 74 in 2016.
Positively, the number of auditees who agreed that the Audit Office’s media release was balanced and fair increased from 50 per cent in 2015 to 62 per cent this year. Another encouraging result was 97 per cent of auditees agreeing the report contained 'no surprises', in line with 96 per cent last year.
However, the percentage of auditees who felt the report was factually accurate fell from 80 per cent to 69 per cent. Similarly, there was a fall in the number of auditees who agreed the report was balanced and fair, down to 59 per cent compared to 76 per cent in 2015.
Satisfaction with audit value
Financial audits increasingly valued
Our CFO performance index for financial audit value rose to 74 from 70 in 2015. CFOs continue to acknowledge the value of the assurance obtained from the audit of statutory financial statements, steady at 93 per cent compared to 94 per cent last year. They also value our recommendations to improve financial management and internal controls, which increased to 84 per cent from 82 per cent. There were significant increases in CFOs agreeing our audit services provide value for money, up from 62 per cent to 70 per cent this year. Those who agreed our fees are reasonable relative to the scale, complexity and financial risk of their operations, increased to 68 per cent from 58 per cent.
More ARC Chairs agreed that our financial services provided value for money, rising to 82 per cent from 77 per cent last year. Ninety-six per cent agreed that the audit committee values our recommendations to improve financial management, slightly down from 99 per cent.
Performance audit value remains steady
The audit value performance index for performance audits remained steady at 65, from 66 in 2015. Although the index remained steady overall, there were some areas of decline. Fifty-seven per cent of respondents agreed that the timing of the performance audit was appropriate, down from 63 per cent last year, while 55 per cent agreed that the audit provided a balanced assessment of the management of activity, down from 58 per cent. When it came to respondents agreeing that the audit will help improve the performance of the audited activity, there was a significant decrease in the results, from 75 per cent in 2015 to 53 per cent this year.
In line with or below other audit offices
We have been comparing our client satisfaction with other Australian audit offices since 2005. In 2016, our financial and performance audit report results were benchmarked against those of the audit offices in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, the Australian National Audit Office and the 2015 results for the Tasmanian audit office.
Our results are in line with other audit offices for our financial audit clients. The overall performance index for the Audit Office is 81, compared to 80 across other offices. We are also in line with the other audit offices on audit process, with the Audit Office index at 79 and the average 78, and audit value, with the Audit Office index at 81 and the average 82. The Audit Office is slightly ahead of the other audit offices when it comes to audit reporting, with our performance index at 82 compared to the average of 79.
The performance indices for our performance audits are below the averages for other audit offices across the board, with our overall index sitting at 70 compared to the 73 average. Auditing process is also below the other offices, at 72 compared to 76, and audit reporting at 74 compared to the average of 76. Audit value for performance audits is also below the other audit offices, at 65 compared to the 69 average.