External financial audit and assurance
The annual report and the internal controls over financial reporting are audited by an external auditor elected annually by the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. Furthermore, Novo Nordisk voluntarily includes an auditor assurance report for the statement of social and environmental performance in its annual report.
In March 2013, the Annual General Meeting elected PricewaterhouseCoopers as Novo Nordisk's external auditor. Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) was first elected external auditor by the Annual General Meeting of Novo Industri A/S (now Novo Nordisk A/S) in April 1982.
The auditor acts in the interest of the shareholders, as well as the public.
Reporting from external auditor
The external auditor reports any significant findings regarding accounting matters and any significant internal control deficiencies via the Audit Committee to the Board and in the auditor long-form report.
A more detailed management report on internal controls and accounting issues is provided to Executive Management. The Audit Committee supervises the annual audit process, which includes meetings with the external auditor.
Independence of external auditor
In order to safeguard independence and objectivity the Audit Committee pre-approves services to be provided by the statutory external auditor. The statutory external auditor is restricted from providing certain non-audit services and the lead partner is required to rotate every five years.
Assurance of the statement of social and environmental performance
As part of the company’s commitment to financial, environmental and social responsibility, Novo Nordisk voluntarily includes an assurance report of the statement of social and environmental performance in the annual report. The assurance provider reviews whether the performance information included in the annual report is complete, covers aspects deemed to be material and is responsive to company stakeholders.
The internal audit function, Group Internal Audit, provides independent and objective assurance primarily within internal control over financial processes, IT and business ethics. To ensure that the function works independently of management, its charter, audit plan and budget are approved by the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee must approve the appointment, remuneration and dismissal of the head of the internal audit function.