Financial statement audits are an independent examination of the financial accounting and reporting of public sector entities. The results of the examination are presented in an audit report, which expresses the auditor's opinion on whether the financial statements as a whole and the information contained therein fairly present each entity's financial position and the results of its operations and cash flows. The accounting treatments and disclosures reflected in the financial statements by the entity are assessed against relevant accounting standards and legislative reporting requirements.

Summary

Overview

1. The Auditor-General Act 1997 establishes the mandate for the Auditor General to undertake financial statement audits of all Commonwealth entities including those of government agencies, statutory authorities and government business enterprises.

2. Financial statement audits are an independent examination of the financial accounting and reporting of public sector entities. The results of the examination are presented in an audit report, which expresses the auditor's opinion on whether the financial statements as a whole and the information contained therein fairly present each entity's financial position and the results of its operations and cash flows. The accounting treatments and disclosures reflected in the financial statements by the entity are assessed against relevant accounting standards and legislative reporting requirements.

3. In addition to undertaking financial statement audits, the ANAO tables two reports annually addressing the outcomes of the financial statement audits of public sector entities. The first of these, Audit Report No.42 2008–09 Interim Phase of the Audit of Financial Statements of General Government Sector Entities for the Year Ending 30 June 2009, outlined details of the ANAO's assessment of audit findings relating to the internal controls of major agencies, including governance arrangements, information systems and control procedures. The findings summarised in that report are the results of the interim phase of the financial statement audits of significant Australian Government reporting agencies.

4. This report complements the interim phase report referred to above, and provides a summary of the final audit results of the audits of the financial statements of all Australian Government entities, including the Consolidated Financial Statements for the Australian Government.

5. The audit findings in this report have been reported to the management of each entity, and to the responsible Minister(s).

Summary of audit findings and related issues

6. The ANAO is responsible for the audit of the financial statements of all the Australian Government entities. For the 2008–09 financial year, the Auditor-General and senior staff delegated to issue audit opinions issued 251 audit opinions (clear opinions); one qualified audit opinion; one report contained ‘Other Legal and Regulatory Requirements'; and one contained an ‘Other Matters' reference. This result is consistent with the trend over recent years that has seen an overall reduction in the number of audit opinions that have been qualified.

7. During 2008–09, the Auditor-General became the auditor of 21 new entities and ceased to be the auditor of 11 entities for the following reasons:

  • seven entities ceased to be owned or controlled by the Commonwealth; and
  • four entities were consolidated into other entities.

8. Details of these entities are set out in Appendix 1.

9. With the exception of Bilioara Pty Ltd, all entity financial statements and auditors' reports for 2008–09 were signed prior to the finalisation of this report. As such, the report sets out the significant issues arising from the 2008–09 audits of all but one Australian Government entities.

Report Structure

10. The report is organised as follows:

  • Chapter One - Financial Reporting and Auditing Frameworks: provides commentary on recent developments in the financial reporting and auditing frameworks under which the Australian Government and its reporting entities operate.
  • Chapter Two - Results of the Audit of the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Australian Government: provides an overview of the audit of the Consolidated Financial Statements for 2008–09.
  • Chapter Three - Summary of Audit Results and Related Issues: summarises the final results of audits of the financial statements, and provides commentary on the preparation of entity financial statements, the impact of the Global Economic Downturn, the 2008–09 Certificate of Compliance process and COAG financial reforms.
  • Chapter Four - Results of Financial Statements Audits by Portfolio: provides the results of individual financial statement audits including any additional significant or moderate control matters identified since Audit Report No.42 2008–09.
Related documents: