New guidance brings clarity on non-financial assurance

Published: 20 Nov 2019
Type: News

Geneva, Switzerland 20 November 2019: Today, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) launched guidance on non-financial assurance. The publication is designed to demystify common misconceptions about assurance and help users procure fit-for-purpose assurance services.  

Independent assurance can enhance credibility and trust in information found in companies’ corporate reports and can increase the confidence of capital providers who use non-financial information to guide their decision-making. 

Tom Vile Jensen, COO, FSR - Danish Auditors, elaborates “… Assurance is a natural part of the evolution to bring sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) information on par with the robust and assured measures we know from financial reporting and assurance.” 

The guide - A buyer’s guide to assurance on non-financial information - goes back to basics to provide those who procure assurance services with improved clarity on the types of services available to them. It considers what assurance is, the benefits it can provide and how the process of assurance works. It also offers practical guidance for those looking to procure assurance including key considerations, hints and tips. 

With the rise in demand for credible ESG and other non-financial information, it would seem more important than ever for organizations to understand what assurance is; the value that it can bring to the users of non-financial information; and how to procure assurance services that meet the needs of those users and the organization itself.

Professor Roger Simnett AO, Chair and CEO of the Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board said “…In the current environment, it is very important for organizations to provide this broader range of information and, in order to rebuild trust in organizations and society, this information must be seen to be credible…”.

Loshni Naidoo, Project Director: Integrated Reporting, SAICA expressed  “We support this initiative as we recognize how important it is for buyers of assurance to have a clear understanding of what they are purchasing; what they can expect from assurance providers; and what will be required from them during the assurance process.”

Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants adds “This publication by the WBCSD and ICAEW is timely and important because buyers of assurance services must have a clear understanding of the types and process of assurance. We believe the majority of the guide’s concepts are applicable internationally and in the United States, which benefits companies and stakeholders alike.”

In producing this guide funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, WBCSD and ICAEW aim to help ensure that those charged with procuring assurance services are better informed. 

To read more, download the guide here.

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