Annual Report and Accounts 2020/21

Auditor's report

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INDEPENDENT AUDITOR’S REPORT TO THE MEMBERS OF PUBLIC SECTOR AUDIT APPOINTMENTS LIMITED

Opinion

We have audited the financial statements of Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited (the ‘company’) for the year ended 31 March 2021 which comprise the Profit and loss account, the Statement of comprehensive income, the Balance sheet, the Statement of changes in reserves, the Statement of cash flows and notes to the financial statements, including a summary of significant accounting policies. The financial reporting framework that has been applied in their preparation is applicable law and United Kingdom Accounting Standards, including Financial Reporting Standard 102: The Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland (United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice).

In our opinion, the financial statements:

  • give a true and fair view of the state of the company’s affairs as at 31 March 2021 and of its profit for the year then ended;
  • have been properly prepared in accordance with United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice; and
  • have been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Companies Act 2006.

Basis for opinion

We conducted our audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing (UK) (ISAs (UK)) and applicable law. Our responsibilities under those standards are further described in the Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements section of our report. We are independent of the company in accordance with the ethical requirements that are relevant to our audit of the financial statements in the UK, including the FRC’s Ethical Standard as applied to public interest entities, and we have fulfilled our other ethical responsibilities in accordance with these requirements. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion.

Conclusions relating to going concern

In auditing the financial statements, we have concluded that the director’s use of the going concern basis of accounting in the preparation of the financial statements is appropriate.

Based on the work we have performed, we have not identified any material uncertainties relating to events or conditions that, individually or collectively, may cast significant doubt on the company’s ability to continue as a going concern for a period of at least 12 months from when the financial statements are authorised for issue.

Our responsibilities and the responsibilities of the directors with respect to going concern are described in the relevant sections of this report.

Key audit matters

Key audit matters are those matters that, in our professional judgement, were of most significance in our audit of the financial statements of the current period and include the most significant assessed risks of material misstatement (whether or not due to fraud) we identified, including those which had the greatest effect on: the overall audit strategy, the allocation of resources in the audit; and directing the efforts of the engagement team. These matters were addressed in the context of our audit of the financial statements as a whole, and in forming our opinion thereon, and we do not provide a separate opinion on these matters.

We identified the following risks that we believe had the greatest impact on our audit strategy and scope:

  • Management override of controls

Management override of controls is deemed to be a significant risk in accordance with ISAs (UK) and presents the risk that management or those charged with governance could override the internal controls of the company in preparing the financial statements resulting in a material misstatement.

  • Revenue recognition

Given the nature of the company’s activities and its revenue streams, there is a risk over the accuracy, existence and completeness assertions relating to revenue recognition.

  • Fee variations

The change in audit delivery dates has resulted in delays in receiving fee variations, hence PSAA have calculated an estimated fee variation adjustment, using a number of key assumptions. There is a high level of judgement in estimating the total value of fee variations that are yet to be received or approved and hence the risk of material misstatement.

Our application of materiality

We apply the concept of materiality both in planning and performing our audit, and in evaluating the effect of misstatements on our audit and on the financial statements. We define financial statement materiality as the magnitude by which misstatements, including omissions, could influence the economic decisions taken on the basis of the financial statements by reasonable users.

We also determine a level of performance materiality which we use to determine the extent of testing needed to reduce to an appropriately low level the probability that the aggregate of uncorrected and undetected misstatements exceeds materiality for the financial statements as a whole.

We determined materiality for the financial statements as a whole to be £305,000. Calculating materiality centered on the perceived key driver of the financial performance of the business. The key driver was revenue recognised and subsequently, an appropriate percentage of 1% was applied to calculate materiality based on the level of revenue recognised during the financial year. On the basis of our risk assessment, together with our assessment of the company’s control environment, our judgement is that performance materiality for the financial statements should be 75% of materiality, being £229,000.

An overview of the scope of our audit

The approach we took to the assessed risks described above was as follows:

Management override of controls

  • We tested the key controls applied to the company’s IT systems to determine that they are operating effectively.
  • We reviewed estimates included in the financial statements for any evidence of management bias arising in their calculation.
  • We conducted enquiries of management and other staff to determine if they were aware of any unusual journals or other adjustments.
  • We tested a sample of journal entries, other adjustments, large or unusual transactions in the year to determine that they are valid business transactions.
  • There were no indicators of management override of controls occurring in the financial statements.

Revenue recognition

  • We obtained a list of live contracts from the company and agreed a sample to source documentation including any deeds of variation.
  • We obtained evidence of the stage of completion at the year-end for each contract and agreed the amounts to the company’s WIP schedule.
  • We recalculated the amount of expected revenue which we agreed to the company’s supporting calculations and amounts included within revenue in the financial statements.
  • Our testing of revenue did not identify any material misstatement of amounts included in the financial statements.

Fee variations

  • We assessed the reasonableness of the assumptions made in calculating the estimated fee variations.
  • We obtained supporting documentation for the WIP completion percentages, fee variation approvals and scale fees.
  • We agreed the remuneration rates to supporting documentation.
  • We also performed a sensitivity analysis on the key assumptions to assess the impact of changes to the key assumptions.
  • We found no significant or reportable adjustments were noted based on the work performed.

Other information

The directors are responsible for the other information. The other information comprises the information included in the annual report, other than the financial statements and our auditor’s report thereon. Our opinion on the financial statements does not cover the other information and, except to the extent otherwise explicitly stated in our report, we do not express any form of assurance conclusion thereon.

In connection with our audit of the financial statements, our responsibility is to read the other information and, in doing so, consider whether the other information is materially inconsistent with the financial statements or our knowledge obtained in the audit or otherwise appears to be materially misstated. If we identify such material inconsistencies or apparent material misstatements, we are required to determine whether there is a material misstatement in the financial statements or a material misstatement of the other information. If, based on the work we have performed, we conclude that there is a material misstatement of this other information, we are required to report that fact. We have nothing to report in this regard.

Opinions on other matters prescribed by the Companies Act 2006

In our opinion, based on the work undertaken in the course of the audit:

  • the information given in the strategic report and the directors’ report for the financial year for which the financial statements are prepared is consistent with the financial statements; and
  • the strategic report and the directors’ report have been prepared in accordance with applicable legal requirements.

Matters on which we are required to report by exception

In the light of the knowledge and understanding of the company and its environment obtained in the course of the audit, we have not identified material misstatements in the strategic report or the directors’ report.

We have nothing to report in respect of the following matters in relation to which the Companies Act 2006 requires us to report to you if, in our opinion:

  • adequate accounting records have not been kept, or returns adequate for our audit have not been received from branches not visited by us; or
  • the financial statements are not in agreement with the accounting records and returns; or
  • certain disclosures of directors’ remuneration specified by law are not made; or
  • we have not received all the information and explanations we require for our audit.

Responsibilities of directors

As explained more fully in the directors’ responsibilities statement, the directors are responsible for the preparation of the financial statements and for being satisfied that they give a true and fair view, and for such internal controls as the directors determine is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.

In preparing the financial statements, the directors are responsible for assessing the company’s ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless the directors either intend to liquidate the company or to cease operations, or have no realistic alternative but to do so.

Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements

Our objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditor’s report that includes our opinion. Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with ISAs (UK) will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of these financial statements.

Irregularities, including fraud, are instances of non-compliance with laws and regulations. We design procedures in line with our responsibilities, outlined above, to detect material misstatements in respect of irregularities, including fraud. The extent to which our procedures are capable of detecting irregularities, including fraud, is detailed below.

The extent to which the audit was considered capable of detecting irregularities including fraud

Based on our understanding of the company and the industry in which it operates, we identified that the principal risks of non-compliance with laws and regulations related to the acts by the company, which were contrary to applicable laws and regulations including fraud, and we considered the extent to which non-compliance might have a material effect on the financial statements. We also considered those laws and regulations that have a direct impact on the preparation of the financial statements such as the Companies Act 2006. We evaluated management’s incentives and opportunities for fraudulent manipulation of the financial statements (including the risk of override of controls) and determined that the principal risks were related to inflated revenue.

Audit procedures performed included: review of the financial statement disclosures to underlying supporting documentation, review of correspondence with and reports to the regulators, review of correspondence with legal advisors, enquiries of management and review of internal audit reports in so far as they related to the financial statements, and testing of journals and evaluating whether there was evidence of bias by the Directors that represented a risk of material misstatement due to fraud.

There are inherent limitations in the audit procedures described above and the further removed non-compliance with laws and regulations is from the events and transactions reflected in the financial statements, the less likely we would become aware of it. Also, the risk of not detecting a material misstatement due to fraud is higher than the risk of not detecting one resulting from error, as fraud may involve deliberate concealment by, for example, forgery or intentional misrepresentations, or through collusion.

A further description of our responsibilities for the audit of the financial statements is located on the Financial Reporting Council’s website at www.frc.org.uk/auditorsresponsibilities. This description forms part of our auditor’s report.

Other matters which we are required to address

We were re-appointed by the Board of Directors on 24 January 2019. The period of total uninterrupted engagement of the firm is six years.

The non-audit services prohibited by the FRC’s Ethical Standard were not provided to the company and we remain independent of the company in conducting our audit.

Our audit opinion is consistent with the additional report to the Audit Committee.

Use of our report

This report is made solely to the company’s members, as a body, in accordance with part 3 of Chapter 16 of the Companies Act 2006. Our audit work has been undertaken so that we might state to the company’s members those matters we are required to state to them in an auditor’s report and for no other purpose. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume responsibility to anyone other than the company and the company’s members as a body, for our audit work, for this report, or for the opinions we have formed.

Subarna Banerjee (Senior Statutory Auditor)

For and on behalf of UHY Hacker Young

Chartered Accountants

Statutory Auditor

 

9 August 2021

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