‘Agenda Overload’ Among Key Challenges in Global Audit Survey by KPMG

About 1,500 audit committees around the world contributed to a survey that identified four major concerns: economic and political uncertainty and volatility; regulation and the impact of public policy initiatives; operational risk; and cybersecurity.

These concerns, the new report by the KPMG Audit Committee Institutes says, had also been identified last year, but massive computer security breaches, the sluggish global economy and geopolitical instability around the word has intensified these worries.

“But for many audit committees today,” the report reads, “these headline risks are also driving a slower moving – yet critically important – trend potentially impacting the audit committee’s effectiveness: agenda overload.” Three out of four audit committee members said that the time needed to do their oversight work has increased “significantly” or “moderately.” The report says, “Half said the job continues to grow more difficult given the committee’s time and expertise.” The report says that audit committees could be more effective if they had time for more discussions and a deeper understanding of the business.

Areas for improvement identified in the report include:

  • CFO succession planning;
  • more insight from external auditors (for example, on the strengths and weaknesses of the finance organization);
  • improving the quality of risk information; and
  • better use of internal audit as a vital resource for the audit committee.

The survey identifies broad international trends and provides detailed country data on audit committee challenges and concerns in different geographies. KPMG hopes its survey findings help audit committee identify gaps, emerging risks and strengthen oversight.

Download the entire report.