There are many different types of person who want assurance and they want assurance over many varying things. Despite these differences they all believe a skilled professional should be giving the independent opinion.
In the UK Stewardship Code on corporate governance lenders, shareholders, fund providers, pension trustees and pension fund members look to the assurance report AAF 01/06 to verify that asset managers are following a set of stewardship principles. The list of interested parties is shown on the Financial Reporting Council’s website and ever growing.
A management board will seek assurance as to how its own company operations are performing in areas such as informance security, newly acquired businesses, and meeting regulatory operations.
The directors of an organisation that looks after outsourced services such as pension administration will want an independent assurance report to demonstrate to its clients that it is doing the job it says it is doing.
Further down the supply chain a board of directors will want to have assurance that the source of goods it is using comes from business operations that are sticking to ethical principles, and have functioning anti-bribery policies and procedures in place.
A company will publish assured quality performance indicators internally or externally with regulators and customers to show that it is meeting the standards required of it. The ICAEW Assurance Sourcebook gives many useful examples in Appendix 2 (pages 57-60 example subject matter).