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The Evolving Role of Auditors and Auditor Reporting

(Cartagena, Colombia)

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Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to be with you again. I say ‘again’ as there are many familiar faces in the audience from the 2012 CReCER Conference in Nicaragua. For me, this in and of itself is a clear signal of the commitment of stakeholders in Latin America to engage in dialogue on international developments.

At last year’s conference, I noted a number of important challenges in financial reporting and auditing, and in the surrounding environment. For example, today’s financial reporting involves more complexity, more areas of judgment, and more qualitative disclosures; and users have higher expectations than ever before, with many saying “We want to hear more.” Perhaps most importantly, the global financial crisis has triggered questions concerning the quality of audits, their effectiveness, and the role of professional judgment and skepticism – which have given way to fundamental questions to the profession about relevance and trust.

So why change the auditor’s report now? What we learned from research is a positive message: the auditor’s opinion is valued, and users want to hear more from the auditor – more pertinent, and more tailored, information about the specific audit performed on an entity’s financial statements. There is symbolic value in the current report, but little communicative value – and users see the potential for the auditor to provide more value and more transparency. So, now is the time to lay the foundation for the auditor’s report of the future.

Prepared by IFAC's Communications Department. Contact communications@ifac.org for further information.

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