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Geplaatst op:
10-4-2018

Still formidable goals to achieve when it comes to improving audit quality on the global stage

Interview met Brian Hunt - Chair of the International Forum of Independant Audit Regulators

 

 

As Chair of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators, Brian Hunt has the ultimate responsibility for oversight of global audits. Helen Burnett-Nichols talks to him about the challenge of improving audit quality and how the audit of the future will differ from the audit of today.

Sitting in his office in downtown Toronto, reflecting on his nine years as CEO of the Canadian Public Accountability Board (CPAB), Brian Hunt says he has watched audit oversight evolve from simply inspecting files to a system of robust risk assessment and stakeholder engagement – an evolution he calls an “exceptional” achievement.

But while his time at CPAB came to a close in February 2018, Hunt still has formidable goals to achieve when it comes to improving audit quality on the global stage. Having begun a two-year term as the Chair of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR) in April 2017, Hunt has overseen an eventful year for the organization.

Although IFIAR was established in 2006, it had never had a permanent base before. It wasn’t until 2013 that a decision was taken to examine the feasibility of establishing a permanent secretariat, which finally opened in 2017 in Tokyo. The Japanese capital was chosen partly because it can serve as a gateway to many non-IFIAR member jurisdictions. Most current IFIAR members are from Europe, but locating the secretariat in Tokyo makes it easier to expand to the African and Asia-Oceania regions as well.

The secretariat initially comprises five full-time staff, including Executive Director Carl Renner, who are coordinating efforts to improve audit quality worldwide.

In 2015, IFIAR’s Global Audit Quality (GAQ) Working Group set a target to achieve a 25% reduction in the rate of findings by the global network firms (the Big Six) by 2019. Hunt spoke to Reporting about progress toward that goal, giving an insight into IFIAR’s thinking on the next target beyond 2019, how the Big Six can continue to improve their performance, and what is realistically achievable and by when. He also talked about the role of auditors beyond the financial statement, the ongoing effort to improve audit quality worldwide and the changing nature of the industry.

“The Big Six are about 1% away from achieving the 25% reduction. Now we need to focus on the next target.”

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