Disclosure of Audit Activities in Annual Reports: A Comparative Study of Selected Listed Companies in Botswana and South Africa

  •  Gorata Modirelabangwe    
  •  Percy Phatshwane    


Audit activities form part of the key functions that enhance the reliability and validity of financial and non-financial information. One of the reporting processes investors and other stakeholders rely on when making decisions is the annual reports of enterprises which are a compilation of various reporting elements. Although internal auditors do not make direct disclosures in annual reports, many financial and non-financial disclosures are for audited items. Ultimately internally-audit activities and those of the external auditor are reflected in disclosures made by the internal audit function, the audit committee, and the external auditors themselves. The main objective of this study was to identify the levels of audit disclosure made in reference to the activities of IAFs, external auditor and the audit board committee, and to make comparisons therein between Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed companies. To uncover the extent of these disclosures the current study derived seventeen (17) mandatory or voluntary audit disclosure areas that were used to conduct text analysis and to determine disclosures made for a cross-country study of three companies, each from the areas of retail, banking and insurance selected from the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). The study found that audit committees and internal audit functions dominated the disclosure of the audit-related variables, and that external auditors tend to confine their disclosure to areas concerned with presentation and qualification of financial statements. The study also found that companies listed in the JSE made more disclosures than their BSE counterparts, and that the retail sector made fewer disclosures as compared to the other two sectors. Furthermore, disclosures related to assessment and management risk as well as aspects of internal audit functions were the two most frequently disclosed variables in both geographic locations. The study goes on to recommend that future studies make more comparative studies by sector, geographic location, and to explore the use of a broader range of auditing variables.

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