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.
The need for the audit to develop in new and innovative ways has been a clear theme in discussions with stakeholders and investors, and with KPMG audit partners across our global network. They are in no doubt that innovation around inputs and outputs is absolutely critical in order for the audit to stay relevant. But what form must this innovation take? We can envisage a ‘quantum leap’ through data & analytics technologies - enabling the analysis of unstructured data, the ability to draw correlations across massive amounts of data, advancing the identification of any outliers or anomalies for further investigation, and the delivery of more granular insights to companies and their audit committees. The innovation challenge for auditors, therefore, is a broad one. Technology is a key facet of it, but it is by no means only that. Through our roundtable discussions a number of stakeholders cited Integrated Reporting as an important innovation with some saying it has changed how their organization reports and understands its own business. While investors have welcomed the Expanded Auditor’s Report where it has been introduced, they are looking a step further for a more joined-up view of an organization and its operations. Many see a need for more and better non-financial reporting to marry with financial reporting and provide a more complete picture of an organization’s story and performance.