In April 2013, ACCA held a series of high-level audit events in Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica. The purpose was to continue ACCA’s efforts in recent years to examine topical issues in audit in the Caribbean and to set future directions for all stakeholders. These include audit service providers, companies (and other financial reporting entities), investors, regulators, central banking authorities and tuition providers. The views of all these parties are central to the intensifying debate on the role of audit, both locally and globally. International standard-setters and policymakers are reaching out to these groups on issues including audit quality, financial reporting, independence, and market structure.
As expected, a wide variety of opinions were expressed as to how to strengthen the audit role. The issue of competition was at the forefront of discussions, along with debate on how to bridge the long-standing ‘expectations gap’ that persists between the level of assurance users believe that an audit provides and the reality of its restricted scope. There was detailed discussion of various aspects of the audit quality priorities of the International Auditing and Assurance Board (IAASB). Nonetheless, there was one common theme – the importance of the audit function, and the desire of all parties to see the value of audit enhanced. ACCA believes deeply that audit strengthens both business and capital markets, which is why we continue to make great efforts to place ourselves at the forefront of the international debate on the future of audit.