New ACCA Research Reveals 55% Of Public Worldwide Believe Auditors Could Prevent Company Failures

• 55% of ACCA global research believe it is auditors who are responsible for avoiding company failures
• 34% expect auditors to always detect and report any fraud
• 70% believe audit should evolve to prevent company failures

A survey of 11,000 people in 11 countries around the world by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has revealed their expectation that auditors should evolve to prevent company failures.

More than half of those questioned also believe auditors are responsible for avoiding company failures. When asked to define the role of an auditor, 48% of respondents from Greece were able to do so. This was closely followed by the Czech Republic with 47%. It showed that 25% of UK of respondents answered correctly.

The survey was conducted in association with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ). It comes at a time where the UK audit sector is undergoing unprecedented reviews, including scrutiny of both the role and remit of its soon-to-be reformed regulator, The Financial Reporting Council (FRC). The Business Energy and Industrial Skills select committee’s report on the future of audit identifies the ‘delivery gap’ in audit.

ACCA believes that this is a legitimate concern, but pinpoints the expectation gap as the most pertinent issue facing the profession. The gap should be assessed in three components: the knowledge gap, the performance gap and the evolution gap. We then propose addressing each of these separately.

Maggie McGhee, executive director -governance at ACCA, said: 'ACCA’s survey highlights challenges for the accountancy profession, regulators and government in how to respond to public expectations of audit. 'The profession has long spoken about the expectation gap in audit, and our research highlights the failure of the gap to close.

Globally, it is clear that further education on the auditor’s role is required, backed by a proactive approach from the profession to address public concern.'

Antonis Diolas, Audit and Business Law Manager, said: 'There has been significant scrutiny in the UK around audit
'Our research shows the urgent need for an open dialogue involving the profession, stakeholders and the public to understand what kind of audit future the public expects.

'Our data shows the high levels of misconception, and that the public are telling us they see audit is part of the solution, a robust audit sector exercising the appropriate levels of professional scepticism. We must work together to address their legitimate concerns about audit.'