A former auditor has landed in hot water after failing to comply with a number of auditing standards.
ASIC circles former auditor over failure to comply with standards
On 1 August, ASIC confirmed Graham Rothesay Swan, the former auditor of the now-defunct Big Un Limited had been convicted for failing to conduct the audit of Big Un in compliance with auditing standards.
The matter stems from Mr Stem’s appointment as the lead auditor for Big Un for the financial year ended 30 June 2017.
According to a statement from the corporate watchdog, Big Un released its 2017 financial report on 29 September 2017 that included a statutory audit opinion signed by Mr Swan.
“In October 2017, Big Un released to the ASX its results for the financial year ending 30 June 2017, based on the audit provided by Mr Swan. The statement to the ASX stated that Big Un’s cash revenue was up 429 per cent with cash and cash equivalents of $9.2 million,” ASIC said.
“In July 2018, as a result of a direction from ASIC, Big Un issued corrections to its report, including that cash and cash equivalents were not $9.2 million but rather approximately $918,000. Overall, Big Un’s financial position was restated from approximately $1 million in net assets to $9.5 million in net liabilities.”
Further, ASIC noted that Big Un was placed into a trading halt and suspended from quotation in February 2018. In August 2018, administrators were appointed to Big Un and it was removed from the official ASX list, it added.
Mr Swan pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a number of auditing standards including audit planning, audit documentation, risk assessment and forming his audit opinion and was ordered to pay a $2,000 penalty. He voluntarily cancelled his registration as a company auditor in October 2020.
Commenting on the matter, ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court spoke to the importance of auditors conducting their work in a compliant manner.
“Auditors are important gatekeepers to the market and play a key role in ensuring that investors have accurate information when making investment decisions,” Ms Court said.
“ASIC has focused on auditor misconduct to ensure auditing standards are met across the industry. This includes referring matters to the CDPP for criminal action and to the Companies Auditors Disciplinary Board (CADB) for cancellations of auditor registrations where misconduct was found.”