- Our profession is experiencing rapid change from evolving technology to greater stakeholder scrutiny
- The headwinds Chartered Accountants face globally can also present opportunities.
- The core themes of World Congress of Accountants 2018 address many of these challenges
Top of the to-do list for this reporting season is to assess the impact of, and put a transition plan in place for, the new accounting standards on revenue, financial instruments and leases. Investors and regulators will be watching.
More broadly though, our profession is facing some challenges. Every challenge can be an opportunity, and preparing for changing tides isn’t just about staying afloat – it’s a chance to build a stronger boat.
Reporting beyond the numbers
Investors are placing increasing value on non-financial disclosures, going beyond the numbers, and looking at strategy, operational management and drivers of future value.
Globally, we’ve seen an explosion of corporate reporting initiatives responding to these needs. Collectively known as Extended or Emerging forms of External Reporting (EER), it’s a space many companies are finding hard to get to grips with.
The Corporate Reporting Dialogue (CRD) has a crucial role in bringing all of the various initiatives together, ensuring greater consistency and comparability between frameworks and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of corporate reporting.
The auditor of the future
The demand for robust, high quality audit and assurance has never been higher.
What can assurance practitioners do to enhance credibility and trust in EER? What respective roles should auditors, accountants and other finance professionals have in detecting and calling out corruption and fraud?
I expect these questions will remain high on the agenda over the next year.
Setting the standard
The Monitoring Group – a group of regulatory and international organisations – has been consulting on proposals aimed at strengthening the governance and oversight of international auditing and ethical standards. Central to its proposals is removing the responsibility for audit-related standard setting away from the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).
While there is widespread support for continuous improvement in standard-setting and the standards themselves, concerns have been raised that the proposals could have a significant cost and impact on the international adoption and use of auditing and ethical standards.
A White Paper is expected to be issued by the end of 2018, and this will be an interesting space to watch.
Embracing digital technology
New tools and techniques in enhanced data analytics and artificial intelligence are being used to derive richer audit evidence.
The audit is being re-imagined to embrace real-time data as well as big data, and the biggest challenge we face is keeping up with fast-paced technological change. How will this shape the future of audit and the skills of the future auditor?
Global challenges, global leaders
Global challenges need global leaders, and the World Congress of Accountants 2018 in Sydney in November is bringing together finance leaders, policy setters, accountants and business leaders in a world-class event that embraces the future of our profession.
Many of the topics above will be featured within the core themes of trust, ethics, sustainability, technology and leadership.
I look forward to seeing you there!
Recognise the headwinds our profession faces over the next 12 months.