Technology risk focus and increased pressure for audit committees

A global survey of audit committees undertaken by KPMG reveals that they have a heightened focus on risk oversight, particularly cyber security and the pace of technology change. However, while the pressure on audit committees is increasing, they are of the view that the quality of information about cyber security and technology risk, talent, innovation, and business model disruption is less than optimal. The report also highlights audit committees’ concerns about a lack of resources and their workload.

KPMG surveyed 1,500 audit committee members, including 78 Australian respondents, in 35 countries around the world. The survey was intended to identify broad international trends while also providing detailed country data on audit committee challenges and concerns in different locations.

Key concerns that arose include the quality of information about risk and the audit committee’s agenda and workload. While audit committees expressed confidence in their company’s financial reporting, concerns arose around the increasingly complex areas of risk attached to technology and how this affected both the workload of the committee and the information it receives.

A move to spreading risk oversight among a number of board committees can be seen, which audit committees noted can lead not only to less pressure on workload, but also more penetrating and in-depth discussions and a greater understanding of the business. This can also assist with improving the quality of information board committees receive on risk.

The report can be downloaded here.

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