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The feeling of assurance

At the heart of trust, is the
“feeling” of assurance

By Matt Graham, Managing Partner, Assurance
Australia and Asia Pacific

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To me, leading a team during a pandemic has felt a bit like a search for stability on constantly shifting sand. The challenges weren’t just professional. 

Concerns for my children, their development and education, and for my parents and their health created personal anxiety around the things that are most important in my life. The members of the 2500 plus Assurance team that I have the privilege of leading were experiencing their own personal COVID-related challenges, most greater than mine. Yet together, we faced a professional environment like we’d never experienced - more judgements and subjectivity, clients under significant stress and leaders making some of the biggest decisions of their careers. 

There was no playbook ...

The principles we used to work and live by, altered. We saw rapid, and potentially permanent, changes in the way we work. Fast-paced transformation and emerging security threats left the unprepared, vulnerable. As seen in the headlines and in the court of public debate, expectations on climate change and equality escalated. The gaps between the ‘haves and have-nots’ increased. Individual countries and, in Australia’s case - states, retreated within their borders to focus on their internal priorities. The rules of the game were no longer certain.

Together, these things created uncertainty, risk, ambiguity and, in some cases, opportunity for leaders and for many of us personally. Caution, tension, anxiety and a lack of trust have become far more prominent in our discourse.

For me, it follows directly that the leaders of today are seeking trust, confidence and greater certainty to support them in their decision-making. At PwC, we recognise that we have a role to play as a provider of trust and confidence. How we work with business and the community to solve these important problems today, and in the future, is central to PwC’s new global strategy, The New Equation.

As an Assurance partner it emphasises the commitment we aim to make to the CEOs, CFOs, Boards and community leaders we work side by side with, every day. 

Led by our incredibly talented people and powered by future-focussed technology, we aim to provide both the capabilities and the confidence our clients need as they make some of the biggest decisions of their careers. At a personal level, we also aim to provide greater confidence to Australians on the issues that matter to them and their families.

We do this in expected and, at times, unexpected ways by, for example:

  • Helping to build integrity and confidence in the capital markets, to protect Australians’ retirement investments

  • Providing independent confidence to aged care providers about quality of care in their facilities

  • Helping the government ensure that grants provided to schools for students with disabilities are spent on the cause they were granted for

  • Assisting companies and not for profits strengthen their protection against ever-changing cyber security threats

  • Giving companies, and their employees, confidence that their wages are calculated and paid accurately

  • Providing an independent perspective on the public assertions companies make regarding Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues

In each case, led by our team and powered by technology, we’re aiming to make people feel more comfortable or confident about the issues that matter most in their lives. 

In short, at PwC ‘Assurance’ isn’t just the name of a business - it’s a feeling. It’s the mental, physical and emotional response you experience when your anxieties are allayed and you feel you can trust. 

This is why we’re investing over USD1 billion globally across the PwC network in the assurance services of the future. We understand that a statutory audit on historical financial statements alone does not provide the extent of confidence investors require when they make their investment decisions. They want to understand a company’s commitment to social issues, the status of cyber prevention controls, a deeper analysis of fraud risk and a view on the company’s outlook. Most of all, in the spirit of trust, they need this view to be independent. 

The PwC audit of the future will do more to deliver this feeling of assurance. It will cover all of these areas, combining a community of solvers and market-leading technology, underpinned by our continuing and relentless commitment to quality.  

I’m inspired by PwC’s commitment to The New Equation and what it means for the future of trust. We will continue to drive towards our ambition of increasing trust and confidence in the areas that matter most for Australians in a way that is sustainable. Less ambiguity, less anxiety, more confidence and more trust. That’s Assurance.


Contact us

Matt Graham

Matt Graham

Managing Partner, Assurance Australia and Asia Pacific, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 412 744 547