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ACCA roundtable on EU audit reform

  • ACCA (UK Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) (lt green) Image
  • European Union Image

02 Oct 2014

On 30 September 2014 the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), along with the European Group of International Accounting Networks and Associations (EGIAN) held a roundtable on the implementation of the new EU audit reform package. The event was hosted by Sajjad Karim, MEP, at the European Parliament.

The main conclusions of the roundtable were that businesses, investors and the audit profession have a desire for clarity from Member States on their choices of options, in order to allow for effective implementation that will ensure the main objective of the reform - improving audit quality - is reached.

The new audit reform package entered into force in June 2014 and will bring about the most far-reaching changes to auditing since the EU's formation over a century ago. Whether they will lead to the hoped-for changes in the market, however, will depend to a significant extent on how Member States will exercise the many options available in implementing the new legislation, together with the approach taken by audit committees and investors. In the UK, many of the requirements of the new directive have already been implemented by the Competition and Markets Authority.

A number of issues around the implementation of the new legislation were discussed at the roundtable. These ranged from the permitted extension of the mandatory rotation period in the event of public tendering or joint audit, the tendering process, the provision of non-audit services, to the possible future direction of SME audits. The event also provided an opportunity to hear the views of the European Parliament, of the European Commission, of institutional investors, of the business community, and of the auditing profession on the desired future shape of the audit market.

In concluding the debate, Jos van Huut, Chairman of EGIAN, said:

June 2014, after almost four years of  difficult - and even emotional at certain stages -  debate, marks the end of a political process at EU level. It took an enormous effort to get to agreed positions, reflecting different interests of different players, as well as different traditions across Europe. Today’s debate shows that implementation will not be easy either, there are many Member State options in both the Directive and the Regulation, creating the risk that measures will differ across Europe, and as a consequence jeopardise the concept of the single market. If the reform is to achieve its full potential, the EU, Member States, investors, boards, audit committees, and audit firms, all need to be actively involved. That is why we all need to cooperate and to continue the dialogue we started this afternoon.

The ACCA press release on this conference is available on their website.

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