Every year, Grant Thornton does a survey aimed at chief audit executive (CAEs) called the Governance, Risk and Compliance Survey. In 2015, Grant Thornton expanded their survey to include audit committee and CAEs members rather than just CAEs as they have done so in prior years; approximately 545 individuals were surveyed. By including committee members, the survey was able to provide interesting detail highlighting the large discrepancy amongst the concerns of CAEs versus the priorities of committee members.

The survey is broken down into four main risk areas– financial, compliance, operational and strategic. Committee members ranked the risks based on importance as follows: financial being most important, then compliance, operational and finally strategic. CAEs ranked the four risks as follows: compliance, operational, financial and strategic. The one specific takeaway from this ranking is the noticeable difference in rankings of financial risks – the audit committee ranks this as the top priority, while CAE’s surveyed only consider this the third most important area of importance. CAE’s are not nearly as worried about the financial risks of the company when compared to committee member. Why might this be? Frugal committee members? A thriving economy resulting in opportunistic executives? It’s hard to conclude on one specific aspect due to the various sectors and industries, but the difference in opinions is certainly interesting.

More specific areas of difference amongst CAEs versus committee members include: CAE’s emphasis of identifying improvement opportunities where as committee members rank this third, and CAE’s ranking increasing efficiency as the third most valuable aspect of their position while committee members ranks this as their sixth largest value add.

All organizations need to be aware of the goals of each individual and committee in order to improve continuity and streamline performance. No matter the size or sector of the company you work for or own, GBQ is always here to provide independent expertise when it comes to your company’s internal accounting structure. Check out our Transaction Advisory Service (TAS) group’s webpage to see all the services that GBQ’s talented team can offer your company.


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