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To ensure the reliability of its consolidated financial reporting, the Hitachi Group is establishing and implementing relevant internal controls. We evaluate their effectiveness by adhering to standards for the evaluation of internal controls related to financial reporting that are generally accepted as fair and reasonable.
Furthermore, we have established the J-SOX Committee with the goal of raising the effectiveness of these internal controls. This committee evaluates internal control effectiveness and establishes frameworks designed to improve and strengthen them.
In pursuit of sustainable growth in corporate value, Hitachi's Audit Committee and internal audit section collaborate with third-party accounting auditors to strengthen its "Tripartite Auditing," which aims to increase the effectiveness of internal controls. The three parties communicate closely to share risk information and assessments concerning risk response while securing transparency and ensuring appropriate checks and balances.
The Audit Committee formulates audit plans in accordance with its risk-based approaches and conducts audits for each consolidated business unit. Cooperating with the internal audit section audits, Audit Committee members meet directly with business unit heads. These members share concerns and issues related to the implementation of business strategies aimed at achieving sustainable growth that require attention with the internal audit section. At that time, the committee also verifies matters that carry high levels of risk in terms of quality, measuring these risks through employee awareness surveys and thorough implementation of business strategies.
Hitachi's internal audit section performs regular internal audits at each business unit, business division and subsidiary. This section reports directly to the President and is independent from organizations that are subject to its audits. The internal audit section also formulates audit plans based on past audit records and the most recent business circumstances. In addition, this section performs audits while sharing information with the Audit Committee, ensuring their effectiveness. The internal audit section at Hitachi is responsible for confirming the legality and appropriateness of all business operations, including those related to accounting, production management, sales, purchasing, IT systems, compliance, and human resources. Furthermore, acting on behalf of our management team, the internal audit section confirms whether the employees are well versed in the ideas and policies of our management, whether operations are being carried out based on these ideas and Policies, and whether business strategies are being implemented in a way that will efficiently lead to sustainable growth.
Accounting auditors perform audits that focus on the accuracy and reliability of our financial statements. First, they adopt a risk-based approach in response to the Group's overall financial status. Applying this approach, they then determine the scope and methods of the audit, formulate an audit plan, and share opinions with the Audit Committee. Next, based on the audit plan, they perform audits on each of the five sectors and the business units that comprise them, enabling effective and efficient understanding of data related to Hitachi's finance department and each of its business segments. If, during the auditing process, our accounting auditors discover a degree of risk that could impact future financial statements significantly or issues that, even if monetarily small, could have a large qualitative effect, they share related information regarding these risks and issues and the progress on a response from the related divisions with the Audit Committee and internal audit section. They also work to improve and raise the effectiveness of audits by submitting "management letters" containing points of concern and improvement suggestions through the finance department. Recently, they have also been working to raise the efficiency of checks on the accuracy of numerical figures by using some IT systems to investigate all cases rather than performing test-checking through sampling.
To further raise audit effectiveness, sector corporate auditors were assigned in each core business field (sector) in April 2019. Through this action, we expanded the internal control system spearheaded by chief auditors and enhanced collaboration with executive vice presidents managing each sector, as well as with the Audit Committee.
Although sector corporate auditors do not act as organs under the Companies Act, they still assume responsibility for governance in each sector. Statutory auditors, which function as organs at Hitachi subsidiaries under the Companies Act, also report to sector corporate auditors and work to improve the effectiveness of Hitachi's internal control systems.
When conducting business audits, we use IT systems to expeditiously search for reference information contained within materials submitted prior to audit in an attempt to improve efficiency. We are currently enhancing a system that will allow our internal audit section to share information with professional accounting auditors using a data lake. When reading audit reports submitted to the President by the internal audit section, the President must be able to quickly understand the issues identified by these reports and make prompt judgments concerning whether immediate action is required. In the future, our internal audit section will continue to maintain its transparency and independence while working to improve audit efficiency as one member of our Tripartite Audit system.