ATO, Auditing

Audit standards need to lift

Top 100 SMSF auditors

A specialist practitioner has called for improved professional standards from the auditing community, given the results of the ATO’s review of the top 100 SMSF auditors to date.

The ATO’s examination of the top 100 SMSF auditors is a welcome exercise, but has shown the professional standards of these practitioners require significant improvement, a sector specialist has said.

“I’m glad the ATO is starting to do that, but I was quite surprised at the findings that showed only a handful of the top 100 didn’t have any issues,” Elite Super managing director Katrina Fletcher told selfmanagedsuper.

“Audits are all we do in the top 100 so we should all be passing with flying colours.”

In December, the ATO released the findings of its investigation of the top 100 SMSF auditors to date. Of the 51 auditors reviewed, it found only 10 were fully compliant, with another 36 requiring further education, while two practitioners were referred to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for further disciplinary action.

Fletcher pointed out there are still instances of imprudent audit practices occurring that need to be eradicated.

She said an example was the continuing occurrence of audits being done in record time, such as 15 minutes, suggesting certain fund reviews are not being performed properly.

“I suspect these are being done via auto-generated [Microsoft] Word documents, but why in this day and age do we still have that happening?” she said.

“What risk are they taking to have an audit returned to the client in 15 minutes?

“It’s these people who are pulling the results of the top 100 SMSF auditor review down.”

She revealed she was audited as part of the top 100 SMSF audit assessment process and said it was a relatively painless experience.

The exercise gave her 24 hours to send details of at least three SMSF audits she had performed to an ATO representative in Adelaide who reviewed the files and returned the results a few months later indicating a clean bill of health.

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