Since 2014, KPMG has sought the opinions and views of stakeholders and investors through a global series of roundtable discussions on the value of the audit report, the audit profession and what needs to change to meet the evolving needs and changing expectations of business, capital markets and society. We have also asked many of our most experienced auditors from across our global network to reflect candidly on where they see audit’s value and what changes should be considered to ensure the audit remains relevant and best serves the public interest. This discussion is critically important to the effective functioning of the capital markets and KPMG is committed to continue to lead the discussion by engaging directly with our stakeholders to listen, learn and play an active role in building public trust.
Audit is vital to trust in financial information, and it’s this trust that turns the wheels of the capital markets system. It is the independence that auditors bring, the objective scrutiny, which gives the business community confidence in the numbers. As a profession, we need the respect and cooperation of management, but we must also respectfully challenge what we are given and make our own independent assessments. In discussions with our stakeholders and investors, there was also a recurring recognition that the audit needs to evolve with the changing times if it is to meet investor needs. A number of participants in the discussions raised the concern that the audit’s focus is on historical information – a largely backward-looking view. But what investors are increasingly looking for is assurance over prospective information. Providing broader assurance, including over more forward-looking information, is one of the key challenges in many participants’ view facing the audit.