This study aims to explore the challenges in the construction of the audit report by a public sector organisation within a non-financial information (NFI) audit context.
This field study primarily uses data collected from semi-structured interviews, in addition to internal and external documents. The data are framed around the generic key audit report elements including audience, scope and criteria, and draw upon insights from Power (1999, 2003a, b) into NFI assurance and Fiske's (1990) insights into communication to draw inferences on the communicative value of the audit report under study.
The findings provide insights into the challenges in determining the appropriate stakeholder audience, objective, content and format of audit reports in a complex non-financial subject matter context. Despite the organisation going to considerable lengths to understand their audiences' needs and audit objectives/criteria when constructing the audit report as the literature suggests, unintended consequences resulted and the communicative value of the audit report was still questionable.
The evidence was analysed from an assuror's perspective. Future research may examine in more detail the user's perceptions on the communicative value of the NFI financial audit report.
The paper's insights into one organisations' challenge in developing appropriate reporting practice(s) within a “new” NFI context have practical implications for the development of emerging assurance practices of other NFI both in public and private sector.
This paper is one of very few studies to use in-action field study approach to comprehensively examine how audit reporting practice develops in a complex non-financial subject matter context within a public sector context.
Hecimovic, A. and Martinov-Bennie, N. (2022), "Audit report construction: public sector organisation perspectives within a non-financial information context", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBAFM-09-2021-0135
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