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There is a series of highly diverse opinions on the current and future position of audit.

In countries where audit is still developing, it is valued more than in countries where audit has been long established.

Audit should provide insight

Developed countries hold strong views that the audit and assurance process is important. However, there are concerns over whether it is timely and whether it offers sufficient insights as to where businesses could have done better.

Investors want an audit, but they want an audit that is responsive to these concerns. This is prompting questions over its future.

Enhanced auditor reporting has been received well in the UK, and is now being rolled out elsewhere.

But this evolution of audit could go further. Audit should evolve to allow auditors to provide more valuable insights about a wider range of measures.

Investors want insights on how a company could have addressed risks better or where they could have increased profits sustainably.

Efficient and timely audit

Business leaders expect information in real time but investors wait months for the audit report. Auditors need to look at how they can use technology to deliver a high quality audit in a more efficient and timely manner

For jurisdictions with a long history of audit the future of assurance lies in looking at a broad range of data.

In contrast, those countries with a shorter history of audit require a stable body of rules to enable them to maximise the benefits.

Global rule makers for audit and assurance should realise that one pace of development will not suit all.

About Andrew Gambier, lead author, ACCA

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