In addition to being useful for investors, ACCA’s report has shown widespread benefits resulting from the adoption of key audit matters, including better governance, audit quality and corporate reporting.
—Andrew Gambier, head of audit and assurance

Recent changes to auditor reporting standards have not only improved the quality of information available to investors, but also had positive effects on broader elements of financial reporting, including governance and corporate reporting; according to a new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

Key audit matters: unlocking the secrets of the audit analyses the effects of recent changes to auditor reporting standards, which became applicable in many parts of the world from the December 2016 year-end audits. To do so, the report examines 560 audit reports across eleven countries and four continents.

The most obvious change has been the introduction of key audit matters which, in response to calls from stakeholders for more detail about the audit process and greater transparency and clarity of the audit report, requires the auditor to list the areas of the audit that involve the most risk and explain the audit approach to those areas.

In addition, the revised standards re-order the audit report to prioritise information that is most relevant to users, and improve the disclosure requirements around ‘going concern’ issues.

The report finds that these standards have resulted in the provision of better information for investors, and have also encouraged improvements throughout the financial reporting chain.

“In addition to being useful for investors, ACCA’s report has shown widespread benefits resulting from the adoption of key audit matters, including better governance, audit quality and corporate reporting,” said Andrew Gambier, head of audit and assurance at ACCA.

“As these benefits are significant contributors to better financial reporting more generally, it’s important that audit firms are given encouragement to improve their implementation of the standard, through proportionate and sensible regulation.”

The full report, which also highlights examples of good practice and identifies some areas for potential improvement in future years, is available here: Key audit matters – unlocking the secrets of the audit.

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Adele Gilbert

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About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering 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.

ACCA supports its 200,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 101 offices and centres and more than 7,200 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

ACCA is currently introducing major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. More information is here: www.accaglobal.com