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Irrespective of size or location – economically, socially and physically – the pandemic impacted all industries worldwide. The audit environment was no exception. Operational changes, lack of face-to-face relationships, remote procedures, access to information, transfer and insufficient broadband posed some of the associated risks which left auditing in a different environment than before.

As auditors we were, and still are, compelled to comply with international auditing standards. Irrespective of cause and effect, we had to make adjustments to our audit strategies, to pragmatically navigate how to maintain relevant, efficient and effective audits.

The world over each phase of ‘the audit’ was impacted in one way or another, yet varied in significance. Recruiting of new clients and staff – client acceptance and continuance – had to be reconsidered to fit both clients and auditors’ needs. Pandemic implications altered our understanding of clients businesses, which resulted in environment change from pre-pandemic periods. Increased risk assessments became common cause for both preliminary engagement activities and the planning phase.

What with control environments being affected, it became more important than ever for auditors to make it a priority to get to grips with these changes. A perfect example would be audits that focusses on the revenue process and new ways of observing inventory. In addition, when it comes to the completion phase and issuing of audit reports, we’ve seen increased scrutiny related to clients’ going-concern evaluations and other impacts.

The effect of the pandemic insofar as it affects our everyday lives, and what the future holds, remains a challenge for client businesses and audit practices alike. Despite the impacts and uncertainties, as auditors, we’ll continue to navigate the aftermath and live life as we now know it, by focussing our efforts to thinking inside the box.


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