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Audit and assurance in the future

Published on: Nov 30, 2018

The world is going through a period of unprecedented change. The audit and assurance profession must innovate, collaborate, educate, adapt and experiment to evolve and advance the audit going forward.

To stimulate the debate around the future of audit and assurance, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) convened an audit symposium in Toronto in November 2017 to bring together senior representatives from business, the profession and academia to discuss and explore possible solutions to some of the challenges that lie ahead.

The symposium ignited engaging dialogue and a summary of what we learned is provided in the report. Download to read about the discussions related to technology's impact on auditing, the profession's role in reporting key performance indicators and the skillset of the future auditor.

The day culminated in a call to action for all those involved in the areas of audit and assurance to:

  • Innovate. The dynamic business environment, developments in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) represent an opportunity for the profession to innovate and identify the services and activities that best meet their clients' and investors' needs. We need to grasp this opportunity.
  • Collaborate. There is a need for all parties — professional bodies, standard setters, regulators and the firms — to collaborate and share resources, money, time and expertise to support and create agile, efficient, technology-enabled audit and assurance services.
  • Educate. The professional bodies' education programs need to ensure that people are being trained in the right skills and with the right mindset and reflect that lifelong learning and adaptability are now/will be the norm.
  • Adapt. There will be a greater need for multi-disciplinary engagement teams, for auditors to enhance their knowledge base beyond audit and accounting and to acquire new skills related to technology. Being able to adapt in this rapidly changing world is critical to success. We can't just embrace change, we need to be change-makers; we need to remain nimble to near-term changes while taking a long-term outlook.
  • Experiment. We should follow the example of other experimental initiatives, such as experimenting with how to value natural capital, human capital and social capital in addition to the more familiar financial capital, to develop a framework that results in the generation of decision-useful, credible information. Only by doing so can audit and assurance continue to play a pivotal role in society.

Download

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