IAASB: Audit quality isn’t just down to auditors

19 Aug 2013

A recent consultation paper of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IA ASB) makes it clear that audit quality is best achieved in an environment where there is support from other participants in the financial reporting supply chain.

The IA ASB’s consultation paper – A framework for audit quality – has three main objectives:

  • Raise awareness of the key elements of audit quality
  • Encourage key stakeholders to explore ways to improve audit quality
  • Facilitate greater dialogue between key stakeholders on the topic

The IA ASB recognises that the primary responsibility for audit quality rests with auditors. But it argues that input from a broad group of stakeholders is essential because there is such a variety of views about what ‘audit quality’ looks like in practice. The proposed framework explores not only how inputs at the levels of auditors, audit firms and professional bodies influence audit quality, and how outputs can influence perceptions of it, but also the impact of broader contextual factors and how interactions among auditors, management, audit committees, regulators and users can support audit quality.

Arnold Schilder, IA ASB chairman, explains: “there are many factors that contribute to maximising the likelihood of quality audits being consistently performed. There is value in identifying and describing these, and thereby encouraging audit firms and other stakeholders to challenge themselves to think about whether there is more they can do to increase audit quality in their particular environments”.