Experts task audit committee on banks’ reports, others
To achieve robust financial reporting and safeguard assets of banks, financial experts have stressed the need for audit committee members to focus more on issues around internal controls, reporting, disclosures and information technology in the discharge of duties in their respective institutions.
Addressing participants at the Ernst and Young Audit Committee forum, held in Lagos, the Partner, Financial Services, Sayo Elumaro, said the audit committees of banks, must also be exposed to continuous education in a specialised or regulated industry matters to deepen their knowledge.
Speaking on the theme: “The Evolving Role of Audit Committee”, Elumaro explained that continuous education would enable them embrace the dynamics in digitisation, keep abreast of changes in the industry and stay ahead of trends.
“What is key for us is really largely continuous education for audit committee members because if they are doing their roles it helps to have robust financial reporting for most of the banks and that helps to reduce the stress that auditors and management go through and also helps safeguard the assets of the bank.
“We are asking them to focus more on issues around internal controls, reporting, disclosures. IT is now very important because you can’t take that away from the banking system.
“So this topic is focused on creating awareness for audit committee members on their changing roles- how the regulators are also demanding more in terms of disclosures and how that will also impact on the roles they play in their respective banks.
“And now, we also have issues around digital disruption, a lot of big data and how things are rapidly changing. So, it is just to help keep abreast of what is changing and how to support them in their roles in governance,” he said.
The Partner, West Africa Advisory Leader, Ben Afudego, while discussing the theme: “Audit Committee Navigating the Digital Disruption”, noted that navigating the digital disruption by the audit committee members, they need to think differently, using new models in their operations.
He said that digital trend is a continuous form of disruption to existing (or new) business models, products, services, systems or experiences, enabled by data and technology across the enterprise.
“Change is coming. Exponential leaders must prepare for it and embrace it. Capability can be readily developed through training, coaching, and skill practice capability reflects a deeply ingrained habit, or style, and is not easily developed.
“The digitisation of the world is forcing changes to every aspect of our lives. It is constantly challenging the way we do things and offering exciting new alternatives.”
He urged audit committee members to ensure that the current state of maturity for information security controls of their respective banks are appropriate to protect the data that matters most in order to bolster the cyber security programme,” he said.