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PwC New Zealand Announces Audit Advisory Board

PwC New Zealand today announced the launch of an Audit Advisory Board that will provide guidance and challenge related to audit quality at the firm. Audits are a critical component of a trusted and well-functioning capital market and the Board is part of PwC’s commitment to continually improving quality.

The Board consists of three independent members who will advise the firm on a range of matters including PwC’s audit systems and processes, learning and development programme and how the firm is responding to structural changes in the profession. It follows the introduction of similar boards and committees by PwC in a number of other markets including Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

PwC New Zealand Chief Risk Officer Karen Shires says, “We are delighted to announce the formation of an Audit Advisory Board and welcome the three inaugural members who will provide objective scrutiny of our external audit quality systems.”

CEO and Senior Partner Mark Averill adds, “PwC’s audit work is at the heart of our purpose to build trust in society. However, we recognise there is more to be done to maintain confidence and trust in audit.”

The three members of the board who will bring unique perspectives from their considerable experience are:

  • Warren Allen. Warren will chair the board. He is the former Chief Executive of the External Reporting Board and current Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade and Porirua City Council. He is also the Committee Chair, Audit and Risk Committee for the Office of the Auditor-General. Warren is a former audit partner at EY and a Past President of the global accountancy body - International Federation of Accountants.
  • Alison Posa. Alison is an internationally experienced CFO and director. She is currently a non-executive director for City Forests and AsureQuality where she is the Chair of the Risk Committee and member of the Audit Committee. She has held senior positions with Fletcher Challenge, Mondelez International and Kraft Foods.
  • Stephen Layburn. Stephen is a commercial barrister with experience in a wide range of corporate and commercial matters. He has worked at Hesketh Henry, Bell Gully and Simpson Grierson. He is also a member of the Commercial & Business Law Committee of the New Zealand Law Society and an external counsel to the NZX Markets Disciplinary Tribunal.

Chair of the Audit Advisory Board Warren Allen says, “Quality audits are a critical component of a trusted and well-functioning capital market. They are key for understanding the financial health of a business and stakeholders need to have high levels of confidence in the transparency, objectivity and effectiveness of the audit process. The board looks forward to working with PwC as it works to further strengthen audit quality so that the process better serves the interests of investors and the community more broadly.”

Karen Shires concludes, “Maintaining trust and confidence in the capital markets here in New Zealand is extremely important and we recognise the role we have to play. PwC has recently carried out research with researchers from the University of Auckland examining the state of auditing worldwide and identifying changes we can make here in New Zealand.

“One thing is clear - with change gathering pace in countries including the UK and Australia there is a growing need for New Zealand’s audit practices to change too. We cannot be left behind. Audit must continually improve to illustrate value, stay relevant and meet stakeholder expectations. PwC’s new Audit Advisory Board is a further step towards transparency and cementing the role of the auditor to bring an independent and objective opinion enhancing trust in financial reporting and the capital markets.”

The Audit Advisory Board will meet three times a year and report its findings to the firm.

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