Throughout the audit of a set of financial statements, the phrase “management/director’s responsibility” appears. It is included in the engagement letter, the financial statements and the auditor’s report. But what does it mean?
Management is responsible for the management of the business, for implementing and monitoring of internal controls in the business, and in terms of the Companies Act (“the Act”), for maintaining adequate accounting records and the content and integrity of the financial statements. These financial statements must be issued annually to reflect the results thereof.
These financial statements are used by various users (shareholders, directors, banks, SARS, etc.) to make certain decisions (buying and selling of shares, valuations, credit terms, etc.), and therefore need to be a true representation of the business. It is therefore critical that all transactions are valid, are recorded accurately and completely in the correct financial year, are classified correctly, and that all assets and liabilities that exist are recorded at the true cost/value thereof.
In terms of the Act, financial statements are to be prepared using either International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) or IFRS for Small to Medium-sized Entities (“IFRS for SME’s”). Luckily management is not responsible to be experts in the above-mentioned standards, as the Act does allow for management to delegate the task of preparing the financial statements to someone with the knowledge and skill set to be able to perform this task. The Act does, however, not allow management to delegate the responsibilities that go along with it too, so they need to ensure that when they do delegate the task, that it is to a responsible person and that they review the financial statements before approving it.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).