What works?

If you have decided that having an audit committee is the right option for your entity, here are some tips and tools that we've been told have worked well for others.

Fundamentals to get right

Principles as a foundation

Before the audit committee gets stuck into any detailed work, there are some fundamentals to get right. Most importantly, audit committees must be fit for purpose. In some of our previous work on audit committees, we identified four principles to use as the foundation for an effective committee. They are:

Making it real and keeping the principles in balance is what will make an audit committee work best.

Note: The Office's charter for its audit and risk committee is available on our website, in the About us section

Fundamental areas of work

From our conversations with those working with audit committees we know that an audit committee being clear about its purpose is very important. Other topics that can be just as important are:

Tools and techniques to help audit committees add value

Sometimes, adding value can be as simple as asking a powerful question.

But there are also many tools and techniques that audit committees can use. Here are the ones that experienced people told us were the most useful.

Scanning tools

To be able to anticipate opportunities, risks, and other factors that might influence a committee's decision, scanning its environment is important. We often find that although all audit committees intend to do this kind of scanning, more urgent matters tend to come up and scanning moves to the bottom of the agenda.

Even if you feel that there are more urgent matters to attend, at the very least, the audit committee should scan the entity's "total assurance picture" and perform a value chain analysis.

The section on "Knowing what you don't know" also gives you some useful questions to ask that might help reveal some missing insights.

If you are looking for more information about the current and future environment, here are some links that you might find useful:

Specific tools

If you know a particularly useful technique that you think others should know about, tell us in our LinkedIn group.

Some useful guides

We have included a list of links to useful guides that might help you in your work as part of, or with, an audit committee.