On 8 May 2013, a landmark meeting was organised by three audit regulators from ASEAN: Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) from Singapore, Audit Oversight Board (AOB) from Malaysia, and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from Thailand, together forming the ASEAN Audit Regulators Group (AARG), involving leaders from the global and regional audit firms who were members of the Regulatory Working Group of the Global Public Policy Committee (the GPPC).
The international participants were presented with the results of a series of comprehensive surveys of audit staff conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) with the AARG members in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand between 2012 and 2013 on what attracted staff to a career in audit and what would make them stay in or leave an audit firm. The findings showed that the three jurisdictions share common challenges as they strive to uphold trust in financial information in these ASEAN economies, in particular that:
· Audit is a highly attractive career because of its excellent training and unique exposure to different industries.
· Despite its attractiveness, several factors strongly affected employee satisfaction, including the high workload compared to the rewards.
· In all three jurisdictions, many believed that their high workload was connected to the need for clients to improve the quality of management accounts and to pay fees reflecting the true value of an audit.
At the meeting it was agreed that addressing these challenges is a necessary endeavour to meet new expectations from investors as they seek more information in a complex business environment.