Highlights about Improving Audit Quality
By Andrea van der Giezen, JAN© Auditors & Tax Advisers B.V.
The International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR; the international alliance of independent supervisors for the auditing branch) published a report about audit quality last May.
This report states that there is an upward trend in general quality of auditing (good for us!), but they stress their belief that the quality of audits still needs improvement. They urge audit firms to take measures, and also address networks about this. Although GGI is an alliance and not a network, the report is interesting in general as it shows the pressure audit firms are under in terms of the incessant quality demands.
What does the IFIAR have to say in its latest report? Although it “only” relates to specific audit firms and it is not a representative sample, other audit supervisors in the world state that the conclusions they have are, on average, the same. Audit firms should have a cycle of continuous improvement, including root-cause analyses, to identify ways of strengthening the systems of quality control. An audit firm can measure audit quality with the help of audit quality indicators.
The IFIAR report also gives details on what went wrong with the dossiers in the sample. Unfortunately, the IFIAR does not give a list of do’s regarding quality, but it is clear that a healthy environment in the audit firm is key. Of course, this does not refer to green plants and daylight in the offce, but to the tone at the top and the culture of the audit company. An open culture is important, as it allows wrongdoing and mistakes to surface (earlier), so they can be addressed.
So, do you feel like a Swiss army knife, multi-tooling your way through audit quality issues? A Dutch analysis on audit quality highlights seven themes for success in audit quality.
- Suffcient time for planning, execution, review, coaching, and reflection by the audit team, and also for unforeseen circumstances.
- A balanced and diverse audit team (including experts), with attention to coaching and review.
- Adequate process management.
- Quality of the audit preparation by the client.
- To be a “learning audit firm” with a culture in which mistakes can be discussed openly.
- Clarity about technical requirements and their practical use.
- A critical-professional approach.
Now we know what we have to bear in mind. And it does not read like a mission impossible: we can all relate to these themes. In order to get to the required quality level, we will need to think long-term and celebrate the small wins along the way. As they say: quality is the best business plan. Let’s do business!
Andrea van der GiezenGGI member firm
JAN© Auditors & Tax Advisers B.V.
Advisory, Auditing & Accounting, Tax
Amsterdam, Weesp, Schiphol, Valkenburg and Purmerend, The Netherlands
T: +31 88 2202 357
JAN© Auditors & Tax Advisers B.V. is a Dutch audit and tax advisory firm, employing 170 people in four offices near Schiphol and Amsterdam. JAN© helps a wide range of (inter) national clients, providing services in the areas of taxation, administration, audits, personnel, salaries, and law.
Andrea van der Giezen, RA, RB, is a Senior Partner and a member of the Board of Directors of JAN©. She is also responsible for compliance and quality within the firm. Andrea has vast experience as an auditor. As well as being a Certified Public Auditor, she is also a Chartered Tax Adviser.
Published: Auditing, Reporting & Compliance Newsletter, No. 02, Autumn 2019 l Photo: Nataraj - stock.adobe.com