A global struggle for audit quality

The fight to improve audit quality and reputation on a global scale faces
difficulties from conflicting regulator rules, according to some of the
profession’s key figures.

Auditors and regulators from around the globe converged on London for last
week’s Global Public Policy Symposium to discuss potential improvements to audit
quality, following the damage to reputation caused by corporate scandals over
recent years.

But there was concern that without convergence of regulatory activity on an
international scale, it would be difficult to enforce any changes that are being
put in place to facilitate such improvements.

Paul Boyle, chief executive of the Financial Reporting Council, said it was
never going to be realistic to get uniform global regulation without a global
government. He argued that regulators should iron out their differences as much
as possible.

Charles Niemeier, a member of the US Public Company Accounting Oversight
Board, agreed: ‘If people are operating with different rules throughout the
world it will not work.

‘What we have to get is a sense of convergence and harmony. We’re having it
with accounting standards, we’re having it with auditing standards. I think the
next wave will be harmony of regulatory standards.’

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