When is a sneeze more than just a sneeze? #AuditorProud

Q: When is a sneeze more than just a sneeze?

A: During a pandemic.

While I might have looked before. I’m most definitely looking now. I’m looking at the sneezer.  I’m evaluating for signals of further sneezes, other respiratory conditions, runny nose, red nose, red rimmed eyes, washed out skin, my distance from said sneezer and potential blast radiuses, debris from scrunched up tissues, and the all-important use of PPE.

And after that split second assessment is done, I’m thinking ahead.  I’m already forecasting the implications.  How could my next 2 weeks be disrupted by being confined only to home, where is my nearest testing centre, how I will get my groceries without leaving home, and critically, what is the feasibility of living with the caffeine withdrawal headache in the absence of my daily coffee shop run.  Will I survive?  Will I be a going concern?

So, sneezing got me thinking.  One disastrous moment immediately triggers a forecast response.  The auditor sceptic in me is evaluating the current state in order to apply reasoning to a possible extrapolated future state.  I’m taking into account actions that could improve the situation and modifying in-the-moment operating decisions to protect ultimate survival.  BINGO.  I’m doing a going concern assessment.  Or was it a sneez-a-ssessment.

Almost every audit we’ve done recently is doing this exact same assessment, whether the entity will continue into the future and be a going concern.  And boy have they been challenging.  Auditors cannot predict the future.  But we have deep skills in evaluating data, correlations between data, implications of patterns, and deviations from patterns, to assess feasibility of management’s plan to survive.  It’s a feas-a-sneez-a-ssessment.

We have seen an audit season like no other and today, on #AuditorProud day, I am proud.  We invest our deep business skills, resilience, and maintain our singular focus on what users of our audit reports and financials reports need to make their economic decisions.  Going concern is a critically important foundation of reporting financial results.  Our role is to flag the big issues, beyond the immediate symptoms, beyond the sneeze so to speak, using credible and authoritative analysis.  Well done auditors everywhere.  Take a well deserved moment or two to celebrate #AuditorProud day.

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