Accountants as professionals are at the forefront in the industry of assurance service providers. Assurance service is all about lending credibility to information. This development is a direct response to the call from the general public to all accountants to wake up from their slumber and do what they are supposed to do in the assurance service sector.
Accountants have been called upon by some professional accounting bodies to curb the surge in information risk. Information risk is the probability that companies and businesses are circulating false information. Companies parading themselves as being profitable while they are in fact empty shells. This was exactly what led to the demise of Enron and some other financial scandals.
Financial statements fraud and online scam are just two examples of information risk in this our time. In this article are some assurance services that accountants as information specialists can offer.
ASSURANCE SERVICES PERFORMED BY ACCOUNTANTS
- Risk assessment: it is directly within the purview of accountants acting as auditors to provide risk assessment service. This they do through the institution of internal audit and internal control. Auditors should evaluate the systems of internal control to ensure that control objectives of organizations are met in a cost effective manner.
- Business performance measurement: accountants have long shifted their focus from being pure business accountant and auditors to being information processing and measuring experts. Information has become the most valued asset in today’s business world. Accountants provide assurance service that what the business says it has done in terms of performance is actually what it has done. There is need for an assurance that the content of a company’s mission statements are adhered to religiously.
- Information systems reliability (SysTrust): accountants and auditors assure managers and executives who are faced with too many information to make decisions from; that the system that produces the information can actually be relied upon to a reasonable extent.
- Electronic commerce (WebTrust): this is similar to the systrust assurance service. The only difference is that webtrust as the name implies is an assurance service that is web based. This is very important as e-commerce is gradually eating deep into the global economy.
- Health care performance measurement: since the health care sector is not profit oriented, steps needs to be taken to ensure that funds committed to the wellbeing of people are actually put to judicious use. VFM (value for money) audit is carried out on health care statement of affairs to lend credibility to it.
- ElderCare services (PrimePlus services): this is similar to the above point explained.
- Technology service: as technologies are constantly being employed to negative use, accountants need to evaluate the use of any technology before it can be fully embraced by businesses as a means of getting problems solved.
- Privacy compliance test: the services of accountants are needed to ensure that businesses are in compliance with the provisions of the law.
The above services are performed by accountants because they are the set of professionals that are more equipped to tackle the new internet and jet age that we now live in. People now employ technology and internet to commit financial crime and economic crime.
It will be a shameful thing for accountants to claim to be financial experts if they cannot reasonably provide the business community with the right kind of assurance services that will reasonably guarantee a satisfactory secure business environment.
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