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Helping businesses get it right: AQF’s response to the financial crisis

In light of the global financial crisis and its wider impact on trust, the AQF felt it was only right that the audit profession should consider what it can do to help support confidence in business. This phase was called “helping business get it right” and it started in 2015.

Can business ever get it right?

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In light of the global financial crisis and its wider impact on trust, the AQF felt it was necessary to open up the forum to challenge from the wider society to deal with the expectations they placed on audit to help business get it right.

On its 10th anniversary event, in March 2015 at the Mansion House, the AQF asked the question: “Can business ever get it right?” Discussed was the proposition that business gets it right when it pays tax, makes money, looks after people, is transparent, innovates, creates new jobs and cares for the planet – and not one but all of these are important for business to get it right.

This was the start of a series of debates culminating in the AQF calling for an independent review on audit. These debates focused on the following five themes.

Whose culture is it anyway?

In November 2015 the AQF focused on the importance of getting business culture right and behaving in a socially acceptable way at its event “Whose culture is it anyway?

Is business paying for its fair share of tax?

Further, in June 2016, the AQF focused on the responsibility of business to society, particularly in terms of the payment of tax, and asked the question: “Is business paying its fair share of tax?”

How can business reduce inequalities?

In December 2016, the AQF asked: “How can business reduce inequalities?

Believe me, I'm an expert

The increasing scrutiny of experts by the public, and what this meant for businesses who employ them, was the central theme of June 2017’s AQF event: “Believe me, I’m an expert”.

Do we still need auditors?

At the end of 2017, three years’ work culminated in a series of thought-provoking debates at the Mansion House. These debates examined the role of auditors in the areas of prosperity, security, fairness and integrity. They also asked if we could confidently say yes to the question: “Do we still need auditors?”

This led to the AQF calling for an independent review to explore how best to address the resultant expectation gap and build renewed confidence and trust in the quality of auditing.

If you are interested in viewing recordings of any of the events, please email the Audit Quality Forum at: AQF@icaew.com

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