Video transcript: What an auditor does

Transcript for a video about what an auditor does and public sector auditing.

Title: What an auditor does 

Have you ever wondered what an auditor does? Their work is largely in the background,  but it’s really important in maintaining trust and confidence in our public sector. 

Every public organisation – such as government agencies, councils, schools, district health boards, and the military – has a particular job to do and is funded to do it. That money comes mainly from the taxes and rates that New Zealanders pay. 

The main way we get to know what an organisation has done each year with its money and other resources is to read its annual report. How can we know whether we can trust what it tells us in that annual report? That’s where the audit comes in.

An auditor will check the information in the annual report. They're trained to make judgments. The auditor will learn enough about how the organisation works to decide on the most important information to look at. Usually, that means looking at where the money gets spent. 

But the auditor will also look at what we call sensitive expenditure the controls over the spending that might 

be seen as having a personal benefit. The auditor will take a number in the financial statements and track it right back, testing where that number came from and how it was arrived at, including any systems, judgements, and 

evidence that support it, so that any of us reading the annual report can rely on that information. This is called providing assurance. Someone totally independent – the auditor – is giving confidence in the information that the organisation is reporting in its annual report. 

Auditors often also look at information describing what the organisation has done with the money it was given. They check that the organisation’s reporting on its performance can be relied on. In the public sector, the audit can focus on the performance information as well as the financial statements and it’s a really important independent check on the information that’s been reported. It helps New Zealanders have trust and confidence in the services that we’re paying for, through our taxes and our rates.

Auditors also help the organisation, by highlighting where to make improvements. 

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Title: Improving trust, promoting value


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