ICAS and FRC: constructive debate on audit future required

JOINT RESEARCH conducted on behalf of ICAS and the FRC has found a need for a constructive debate about the future of audit and that specialists should be recruited and then trained in audit to become an effective part of the audit team.

In 2013 ICAS and the FRC commissioned two international teams of researchers to investigate what mix of skills and qualities are needed in an audit team for it to perform high quality public interest audits.

Among the key findings of the first group were 11 ‘pressure points’ or areas of difficulty, covering four broad categories: the context of the specific audit engagement; the development of audit personnel; firms as suppliers of audit services; and interactions with stakeholders and society.

It was also found by the second research team that the issues revolve around: making sure that audit is recognised as a skilled, judgemental activity; recruiting and developing suitable audit professionals; and managing the delivery of the audit as a professional service.

ICAS CEO Anton Colella said: “As the researchers state: knowing what the capabilities and competencies auditors will need in an uncertain future is difficult, but if we do not start that debate now how will the profession keep pace with changing expectations and evolve to meet the needs of stakeholders and society?  We are delighted to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the FRC and the researchers on this vital global issue.”

FRC chief executive Stephen Haddrill said: “As we implement significant changes in audit regulation, we hope that the research results will lead to a constructive debate on the future of audit and the competencies which will be required in order to meet that vision to deliver high quality audit and profession-led innovation in the UK.”

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