The future of audit was discussed at a series of roundtables jointly hosted by Grant Thornton and ACCA in China, the EU, Singapore, South Africa, the UAE, the UK and Ukraine. The discussions offered valuable insights into what issues the audit profession is currently facing and how it may have to evolve to remain relevant.
The idea of audit as a single, universal service that is the same for all types of entity anywhere in the world is under unprecedented strain.
The complexity and global interconnectedness of today's business environment have resulted in growing demand for assurance that information is disclosed fairly and accurately, but as quality auditing standards have enhanced confidence in larger companies they have also introduced additional hurdle for smaller entity audits and for countries where the audit profession is still developing. One pace of development will not suit all.
A strong audit and accountancy profession underpins market confidence and promote economic growth, but for this it must adapt and understand who the users are, what information they use and what they use it for. Users are looking to the audit to evolve further to allow auditors to provide more valuable insights about a wider range of measures.
The future of audit discussions recognised the importance of the digital age. Whether new technologies could further improve audit quality, keep the function relevant and maintain the attractiveness of the accountancy profession are some of the questions discussed further in this report.
ACCA and Grant Thornton held a conference, organised under the patronage of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU, to discuss the findings of the report and the impact of the implementation of EU audit reform.