Webinar on Audit Committees
The EU twinning project Enhancing Accounting and Audit Quality in Georgia, with the assistance of the Service for Accounting, Reporting and Auditing Supervision (SARAS) and the National Bank of Georgia hosted on November 26 a webinar titled “Audit Committees: Prospects for Further Development”.
The webinar was organized for members of audit committees and auditors carrying out the audit of the financial statements of non-financial public-interest entities.
Its objective was to overview the recent trends in enforcement and regulatory actions taken by EU and Georgian regulatory bodies with regard to the financial information of public-interest entities as well as to emphasize the important role that audit committees play in securing the quality of the audit of financial statements and thus better protecting the users of financial information.
The webinar was led by speakers from the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board (HAASOB), the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC), the National Bank of Georgia and SARAS.
Opening remarks were delivered by the governor of the National Bank of Georgia, Mr Koba Gvenetadze, and the head of SARAS, Mr Yuri Dolidze.
The topics addressed by Mr Panagiotis Giannopoulos, deputy chair of HAASOB, included the nature, frequency and existing channels of communication between audit committees and regulatory bodies in Greece, along with best European practices as regards the cooperation between them. Following Mr Giannopoulos, Mr Costas Cotsilinis, who is currently an audit committee member, gave a presentation about different aspects of the functioning of audit committees in Greece.
The second part of the webinar focused on financial reporting transparency and relevant European standards. Mr Nikos Papadimos from the Hellenic Capital Market Commission spoke about specific requirements of the EU Transparency Directive in relation to financial statement disclosures of listed entities.
The guidelines issued by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) on enforcement of financial information were also presented, followed by examples of real-life cases where material inaccuracies revealed by the HCMC in financial statements of public-interest entities led to restatements - something that could have been avoided with the proper involvement of audit committees throughout the reporting process.
To identify similar patterns in financial information published by Georgian public-interest entities, Ms Ana Kvaratskhelia presented the main findings of financial statement reviews performed by the National Bank of Georgia, while Ms Salome Skhirtladze elaborated on enforcement mechanisms the National Bank of Georgia has in place to ensure transparency of financial reporting. Ms Skhirtladze also spoke about the Bank’s close cooperation with SARAS in that regard.
In the final part of the webinar, Mr Davit Mchedlidze from SARAS presented to the audience the Service’s financial statement review policy for 2021.
The presentations delivered during the webinar can be found here.