The Tax Department’s auditors may be having a hard time finding a way to help the public
More than half of all auditors are under the age of 60, according to the latest OECD figures, while some of the most common areas of audit include income tax, tax compliance and the provision of services to taxpayers.
The OECD data, released on Wednesday, shows that about one-quarter of auditors aged 55 and over had completed their first tax audit.
The most common age groups for auditors were between 16 and 30 years old.
Auditors in the private sector also tend to be older.
Auditor age is determined by the type of business a company operates, the nature of the audit and the auditor’s level of experience.
The OECD says auditors generally need to have a bachelor’s degree or higher and some have been in their profession for more than 20 years.
“A lot of people in the public sector tend to have less than a bachelor degree,” said accountant and senior executive officer for audit and taxation at PwC, Stephen Stroud.
“But the people in audit and compliance roles tend to take a lot longer to develop.”
Auditors are also more likely to be women, with one-third of those under 40 having completed their last audit.
The report also revealed the highest proportion of audits carried out by audit firms were done in Asia and the Pacific, followed by Europe.
The report says the audit industry has “seen rapid growth over the last decade”, with firms accounting for nearly half of auditing worldwide.
In Australia, the audit sector has seen a “significant increase in demand” with the number of audits up from just under 5,000 in the mid-2000s to more than 19,000 now.
“We have seen an enormous increase in the number and volume of audits that we have undertaken, which is a really encouraging sign for the audit profession,” Auditor-General Ian Stewart said.
“It is an industry that needs to be diversified to support its future growth.”ABS audit manager John O’Brien says a number of other areas of the tax industry are also seeing a growth in auditors.
He says while the number auditors currently work in “general public audit” may be low, it is “growing at a really good rate”.
“The challenge is going to be that as a profession we have to keep pace with the demand and keep our eyes open to what we need to be doing to keep up with demand,” Mr O’Brien said.
Mr O’Bride said the Australian Taxation Office was “fully focused” on finding a new role for auditing.
“The Audit and Taxation Branch will continue to focus on making the tax administration process as transparent as possible and we are already working on how we can make it easier for people to understand how their money is being spent,” he said.
The Tax Department has released a new website where auditors can search for audited assets and pay their tax obligations.
Topics:audit-and-finance,business-economics-and,tax,finance-and-“economic-trends”,business-group,government-and.independents,taxation,government,australiaFirst posted March 07, 2019 09:58:08Contact Peter JostenMore stories from New South Wales