Enhancing audit quality through innovation

Canada’s audit profession continues to transform in response to market changes, and, in so doing, sends a clear signal of its commitment to enhancing quality in the public interest.

Innovate or die: The mantra for enhancing audit quality in today’s world

You might think that with the continual strengthening of auditing standards, closer scrutiny from audit regulators, increasing complexity of financial statements and pressure on audit fees, many auditors would turn their backs on the auditing profession.

But that’s not what I find in my dealings with the many volunteers who contribute to the Canadian and international auditing standard-setting processes. What seems to drive them forward is the recognition that auditing is part of the fabric of society. It’s a calling. It means doing the right thing in the public interest. An unbending commitment to enhancing audit quality.

Enhancing audit quality requires innovation. Innovation to respond to the challenges facing auditors today. Because audit quality is more than just complying with standards, there is no standing still. Consider this:

  • Firms are using developments in technology to strengthen how they think about and perform audits.
  • They are building quality into their practices, from the top down and the bottom up.
  • They are responding to the needs of management and audit committees by communicating independent insights from their work.
  • They are working with audit committees to help them understand the assurance that auditors are providing, and can provide, on information audit committees are responsible for overseeing.
  • They are also reassessing the type of people they need to do the audits of today and, going forward, the skills, competencies and mindset required to drive high-quality audits.

Finally, it is refreshing to note that Canadian firms are starting to be more transparent about their commitment to quality. Such reporting may be more prevalent in Europe and the United States, but at least one Canadian firm went public, issuing its inaugural audit quality report in 2016.

Maybe it will catch on. I hope so, because such reporting sends clear messages that strengthen the public trust and confidence in our profession.

Keep the conversation going

Do you see examples of firms, large or small, that are committed to audit quality? What does this look like? What innovations are taking place today that can drive our profession forward tomorrow?

Post a comment below or email me directly.

Conversations about Audit Quality is designed to create an exchange of ideas on global audit quality developments and issues and their impact in Canada.

About the Author

Eric Turner, CPA, CA

Director, Auditing and Assurance Standards, CPA Canada