Making your mark on society
Tommy Johansen specialises in public sector auditing
At Deloitte, you have chosen to specialise in the public sector. Why?
"When I first came to Deloitte, I was convinced that I would be auditing small and medium-sized companies. More or less by chance, I was thrown into some public sector audits and I loved it immediately. Today, I audit several large educational institutions as well as a number of municipalities. I feel like I have definitely found my niche."
What is so special about performing an audit in the public sector?
"In addition to the general standards for auditing we have to follow the so-called SOR-rules, which stands for ‘Standarder for Offentlig Revision’. This means that our audit has to be threefold. We perform a financial audit to make sure that accounting standards are being met. Then, we perform a legal-critical audit to assess whether there is a legal basis for how the money has been spent. And finally, we perform an administrative audit to assess whether the money is spent wisely and in compliance with public standards."
Everybody is talking about data analytics as the new tool for auditing. Is that also the case in the public sector?
"Absolutely – and even more so than most people think! In fact, the public sector has an abundance of data that are perfectly suited for analysis and benchmarking. An obvious example is payroll expenses, but it can be so many different things. What data analytics does is essentially giving us a clear picture of the past in order to make better decisions for the future, thereby helping the public as well as the private sector tackle the challenges in coming years. We are only just scratching the surface. I am very excited to see where it will take us."
Is it difficult to remain independent when these kinds of tools make you move closer to the organisation?
"The simple answer is no. We never compromise our independence. I still value the old virtues of orderliness, independence and professionalism, and so do all of my colleagues. Those virtues are the foundation for everything we do. There has to be a distance between the auditor and the client, otherwise we are not able to deliver what we are supposed to do. We do it the right way, or we don’t do it at all. Doing something half-heartedly means that we fail to meet the expectations of our client and their stakeholders."
What are your own ambitions for your career?
"I recently became a state authorised public accountant, so right now I am just exhaling for a moment after years of very hard work. The good news is that our firm has such a strong position in the market. There are really no closed doors. I have the full support of the partners and the rest of the firm together with my family to figure out the next steps of my career. Am I striving to become a partner or a specialist? Who knows. Right now, I am really happy where I am."
"After getting my authorisation, I feel like all doors are open. I know I have the full support of the firm and the partners."