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New Aurecon unit to address risk of project failure and safeguard asset value

Aurecon has established a new Capital Program Assurance (CPA) unit to help clients better manage risk, reduce ballooning project costs, and safeguard the value of assets.

Riaan Steenekamp, Johan de la Rey and Amandla Tokwe of Aurecon’s newly established Capital Program Assurance unit

24 May 2019 - Global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon has established a new Capital Program Assurance (CPA) unit to help clients better manage risk, reduce ballooning project costs, and safeguard the value of assets.

Independent global analysis indicates that 30 to 60% of projects fail by more than 25% cost and/or schedule overrun, whilst post-implementation review results indicate that more than 80% of projects fail to achieve one or more key metrics contained in the business case.

As asset owners increasingly struggle to assess asset performance as a source of sustainable value, the unit provides clients the crucial assurance they need to know and trust that their portfolio, programs, and projects are meeting organisational strategic objectives.

Johan de la Rey, Aurecon Principal, Capital Program Assurance, said the unit’s expertise extends far beyond traditional auditing services.

“Successful investment programs and projects benchmark governance, risk and controls during the complete decision and delivery life cycle, to improve investment returns. The deep dive we do into financial, commercial and planning empowers and protects clients to rely on information and data to report progress and overall organisational status to stakeholders. Our key clients are Board and C-suite level professionals of infrastructure intensive entities, who are responsible for growing sustainable businesses that meet investor, stakeholder, environmental and social expectations,” said de la Rey.

While many consultancies offer services that address risk and cost concerns, Aurecon’s experience in the engineering sector puts the CPA unit in the prime position to help clients connect their assets to strategy.

“We can tap into a wealth of disciplines and expertise for power, water, infrastructure, building, or any type of project or program that is underway. Our technical experience, combined with cost and risk control, can help companies get their projects on track with the advisory services they need to meet their goals,” adds de la Rey.

Amandla Tokwe, Aurecon Associate, Capital Program Assurance, joined Aurecon’s CPA team in early 2019. Tokwe has 18 years’ experience as a multidimensional Forensic Audit Professional and said that capital program assurance has become key to managing the risk of strategic failure.

“Our clients’ projects are tied to significant OPEX and CAPEX program spending, and these projects involve a broad cross section of stakeholders. When we partner with clients, we provide assurance that the progress that has been reported can be relied on and is an accurate reflection of reality. With asset performance being top of mind for many of our clients, we create the clear-cut path they need to create future-proofed, sustainable businesses,” said Tokwe.

Auditing ‘spot checks’ superseded by a deep dive into financials and project deliverables

While companies undoubtedly have their own auditors, these auditors generally do ‘spot checks’ and perform control framework compliance reviews to confirm the company is compliant with standards such as the King Code of Governance. The CPA unit’s auditing and assurance skills, combined with the governance, risk, compliance, engineering, technical and advisory expertise, enables them to understand the true cradle-to-grave mechanics of a program or project.

Riaan Steenekamp, Aurecon Associate, Capital Program Assurance, joined Aurecon’s CPA team in 2018 with 15 years’ experience, including eight years in project and program assurance.

Steenekamp said the CPA unit finds the evidence required to prove that a program or project is on track to achieving its goals. The multidisciplinary skillset and analysis methodology also allows them to pinpoint the root cause of issues and provide advisory services to steer programmes back on track.

“Everyone wants to rest assured that the information they cite is a true reflection of the status and progress of programs and projects. By bridging the gap between Financial Accountants, Project Planners, Control Managers and the overall Project/Program Manager, we can not only detect problems long before they become big, and potentially expensive, issues, but can provide assurance that capital programs are meeting their strategic objectives,” said Steenekamp.

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