The economic crisis and major bankruptcies in recent years have led to dissatisfaction with the way auditors communicate to the outside world through financial statements. There is a gap in expectations between the auditing profession and the general public with regard to the auditor’s work and conclusions. What emerges is a picture of the general public having the expectation that the auditor will review everything during an audit; even though it is practically impossible for the auditor to identify all deficiencies and leave no stone unturned. It is a challenge for the auditor to deliver value-added information to users of financial statements, particularly with the current format of the auditor’s report and the limited possibilities of communication. As a result, standard-setting organizations and legislators around the world have focused on improving the auditor’s report. They have taken various initiatives and published suggestions for improvement. We have in this master’s thesis chosen to concentrate on the exposure draft from The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board which was released in June 2013. The exposure draft has been supplemented by actions and proposals from the European Commission and the FRC in the UK. Our overall aim is to gain an understanding of the fundamental ideas behind the proposed requirements and changes stated in the exposure draft, and consequently form opinions based on these. We challenged the validity of our opinions by interviewing both auditors and users of financial statements, as well as examining three of the responses to the exposure draft. The main changes include the introduction of a new Key Audit Matters section, explicit statements of going concern and independence, and improved description of the responsibilities and structure of the auditor’s report. The Key Audit Matters section should include company-specific information and avoid technical auditing terms so that it can be understood by users who do not have an auditing background. It will also allow users to obtain insight into matters that have had the most significant impact on the audit and to gain a better understanding of the auditor’s work. Based on the empirical studies, it is our considered opinion that there is general support for the exposure draft and the fundamental ideas in it. However, there are some concerns that the new section and statements may potentially cause more confusion than clarity. After careful consideration of these points, we have suggested some concrete improvements to the exposure draft and made some general recommendations to ensure that the auditing profession as a whole can avoid potential pitfalls and thereby achieve greater value creation.
|Educations||MSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||126|