Audit industry feels pressure of coronavirus pandemic, says ACCA

Audit industry feels pressure of coronavirus pandemic, says ACCA

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is already having a significant impact across the audit profession and public practice leaders according to the latest research from ACCA.

The COVID-19 global survey: inside business, impacts and response report revealed that a significant 53% of respondents said they were experiencing pressures completing client services work, and over a third (36%) said they faced an inability to meet reporting deadlines - a point recognised in many jurisdictions where reporting deadlines have been flexed.

A quarter said they’re experiencing difficulties in gathering audit evidence, and 27% said they saw an increased audit risk relating to valuation of assets, completeness of liabilities or going concern issues.

On the positive side, the 1,857 respondents to the global research from public practice and audit leaders have already reported significant opportunities for providing enhanced insights and value to audited entities through the audit process.

Although digital advances continue to influence how audits are conducted and how evidence is gathered, as well as aspects of the reporting process, for many firms the crisis is creating a systemic shock to normal client engagement activities.

Mike Suffield, director, professional insights at ACCA, said: “From increased pressure to complete audit work to issues in getting audit evidence, and very sensitive judgments in areas such as going concern, auditors will need to re-evaluate how they undertake normal auditing activities. There are challenges ahead, but respondents also spoke openly about opportunities.

“These immediate impacts will resonate into the future, and it’s important that we do not lose sight of business fundamentals. Even in the face of COVID-19, businesses large and small will still face existing risks such as cybersecurity. We need to remember that different ways of working and strategic reactions could change these risks or even introduce new ones. Ensuring that risks continue to be managed, both specifically in response to the crisis and more generally, is essential.”

  • Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.
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