Responding to an invitation to comment about a document from the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), ACCA welcomes this initiative of the IAASB to improve the report in terms of its usefulness and relevance to shareholders and other interested parties.
Sue Almond, ACCA’s Technical Director, said: 'As a result of the global financial crisis the work of auditors is under more scrutiny now more than ever. The report of the auditor is the most visible output of the audit process and we welcome the IAASB initiative to improve its usefulness and relevance, particularly to investors.'
The proposals are for changes to standardised information to improve understanding of the audit and, much more importantly, for a whole new part of auditor reporting termed as Auditor Commentary. This responds to legitimate calls from investors and other stakeholders for more and better information to underpin the ‘pass or fail’ opinion from the auditors.
ACCA has carried out a body of work on the future of and value of audit and has assisted the IAASB in its outreach activities to help ensure that the eventual changes to ISAs are firmly based on evidence of stakeholder needs.
Robert Stenhouse, Chairman of the ACCA Global Forum for Audit and Assurance, said: 'This is potentially the biggest change to audit proposed in a generation and has therefore been the focus of the ACCA Global Forum for Audit and Assurance for a long time now. Although challenges were identified, overall we are generally supportive of the proposals. It is not just a matter of including more in the auditor’s report; the dialog about that between auditors and preparers will have a new dimension to it and could lead to significant improvements in financial reporting.'
Ms Almond concluded: 'The ultimate test is whether, with the benefit of hindsight, the changes now being proposed would have addressed the extreme events at the root of the financial crisis. We think reporting as is now proposed could have helped alert stakeholders to the truth of an entity’s financial position.'