ACCA - The global body for professional accountants
While we accept that there are lessons to be learned, our position is that we continue to believe strongly in the value of audit as a tool which can provide material benefits to companies and their various stakeholders and are keen to ensure that the value of audit is maintained and enhanced in the years to come
—John Davies, head of technical, ACCA

Lessons have to be learned, and time is right to re-examine the role of statutory audit for a sustainable future, says the global accountancy body

ACCA is aware of the widespread speculation concerning the forthcoming announcement by the European Commission of its future legislative proposal on statutory audit. 

However, while ACCA will not make any formal public comment on the Commission's proposals until they are actually made, we have, during the process of consultation which has already taken place, made clear our position regarding the future of audit policy in Europe. 

'We agree with the Commission that the time is right for all parties with an interest in audit to re-examine the role of statutory audit in the light of our collective experience of the financial crisis. We support the Commission's project to review all aspects of existing law and regulatory practice with the aim of learning lessons from that experience. While we accept that there are lessons to be learned, our position is that we continue to believe strongly in the value of audit as a tool which can provide material benefits to companies and their various stakeholders and are keen to ensure that the value of audit is maintained and enhanced in the years to come', says John Davies, head of Technical at ACCA.

ACCA accepts that maintaining and enhancing the value of audit may mean making significant changes to how audits are currently conducted and regulated. We have ourselves promoted the idea that the scope of audit needs to be expanded so as to take on more responsibilities which are likely to make a real difference to shareholders and regulators, such as reporting on how companies manage their strategic risks. 

John Davies explains: 'We share the Commission's concerns about concentration in the listed company audit market and believe that changes should be made to the audit environment to encourage greater involvement on the part of smaller firms in listed company audit work. We also fully endorse the Commission's goal of improving audit quality and accept that integral to that goal must be to address issues relating to independence, objectivity and professional scepticism.' 

'In pursuing these ambitions, however, we believe it is important to ensure that we do not resort to inflexible and bureaucratic measures which risk creating practical problems within the corporate sector and which could even prove counter-productive in terms of their effects on audit quality. Crucially, whatever arrangements are eventually adopted to replace the current Directive should, in our view, focus on outcomes as much as procedures', he adds. 

'ACCA looks forward to the publication of the European Commission's plans in November and to engaging in a constructive dialogue on them, both with the EU executive and the co-legislators. With this in mind, ACCA is organising a round table meeting on the issue in Brussels in early December', John Davies concludes. 

For further information, please contact

Cecile Bonino

Public Affairs and Media Relations Officer-EU ACCA

+32 (0) 2 286 11 37

+44 (0) 7809 595 008

cecile.bonino@accaglobal.com

Helen Thompson, ACCA Newsroom

+44 (0)20 7059 5759

+44 (0)7725 498654

helen.thompson@accaglobal.com

Notes to Editors

  1. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. 
  2. We support our 147,000 members and 424,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 80 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. 
  3. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.