Audit profession leaders make unified commitment to quality

The statement touches on AI, analytics, and blockchain.

Seven prominent leaders of the auditing profession recently published a joint statement reaffirming the profession's commitment to quality.

The commentary, posted to the websites of the AICPA, the Center for Audit Quality (which is affiliated with the AICPA), and firms represented in the commentary, described the steps that firms have taken to raise audit quality, and it promised further improvements.

"The promise of our profession is a commitment to improve — continually," the statement said. "Indeed, for auditors, continual improvement is more than a commitment; it is an imperative."

The commentary was authored by:

  • Wayne Berson, CEO of BDO USA and chair of the global board of directors of BDO International Ltd.
  • Lynne Doughtie, U.S. chairman and CEO of KPMG LLP.
  • Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte US.
  • Kelly Grier, U.S. chairman and managing partner and Americas managing partner of EY.
  • Mike McGuire, CEO of Grant Thornton LLP.
  • Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the AICPA and CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.
  • Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman and senior partner of Pricewaterhouse­Coopers LLP.

In the statement, they welcomed the thousands of new accounting graduates who will become auditors this year. The commentary explained that the profession is dedicated to providing the capital markets with confidence and assurance in financial reporting.

The statement explained that auditors are collaborating with colleagues on information systems, cybersecurity risk management, valuation, and complex tax matters.

"Such a multidisciplinary approach also helps firms to integrate cutting-edge technologies into the audit, a feature that is especially important at a time when artificial intelligence, advanced data analytics, and blockchain have the potential to revolutionize the audit," the commentary said.

Audit firms' investments in systems of quality control, accountability frameworks, and orientation of partner compensation around rewarding quality were cited in the commentary as examples of the profession's commitment to quality.

"Our commitment to continuous improvement benefits our workforce as much as it does the capital markets in that it instills values that are essential to success," the commentary concluded.

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