Update on audit timelines

31 January 2023: We completed most 30 June 2022 audits with a statutory time frame of 30 September 2022 on time, including the audit of the Financial Statements of the Government. However, auditor shortages, challenging immigration settings, staff turnover, and higher sick leave (in audit firms and in public organisations) continue to affect some public sector audits with later statutory time frames.

During 2022, the efforts of many people throughout the public sector enabled our auditors to complete the audits most important to the country’s overall public accountability system. With Covid-19 resulting in staff absences, and the public sector generally under increased pressure, their efforts in ensuring that our auditors had the information they needed to do this important work was appreciated. In the circumstances, it was a significant achievement.

We know deferred audits are still affecting some public organisations, due to the auditor shortage that has affected the auditing profession. We are planning to complete these audits as quickly as we can in 2023, while maintaining our primary focus on audit quality.

We have reallocated about 80,000 hours of work to auditing firms with capacity to take on more audits so we can better address the backlog of deferred work. We have also been recruiting skilled auditors from overseas, hiring more graduates, and setting up secondment arrangements with other audit offices.

We will continue to add capacity and prioritise our work. Our objective is to ensure normal statutory time frames for reporting can be met during 2023.

The Auditor-General has asked all appointed auditors to remain in close contact with affected organisations to ensure that audits can be completed as quickly and efficiently as possible, while maintaining quality.