Amid global uncertainty, the search for professionalism and assurance has never been more important, says Anton Colella.
I had the opportunity yesterday to address a meeting of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, which is meeting this week in Edinburgh.
The work the IAASB is doing in relation to ongoing development of audit standards and auditor reporting will be vital to providing assurance to investors, and clarity and confidence to a world sorely lacking both.
Confidence in an audit comes from confidence in the auditor; there’s something wonderfully personal about the title, ‘Auditor’s Report’. It places an emphasis on the individual woman or man, on her or his expertise, evaluations and integrity.
And where do you go for this integrity? Where do you go for men and women who have an innate understanding of what it means to be a professional? Where do you go for people who know their professional responsibilities and who act, not because of fear of regulators or because they’re blindly following rules, but because of who they are?
It comes from the training they receive and the role models they look up. It comes from ethics declarations such as the one the newest CAs made at the recent ICAS admissions ceremony in Edinburgh. And it comes from advice and discussion, between a community of peers and from senior to junior, about the professional issues of the days.
Arnold Schilder, Chairman of the IAASB, once gave a description that gets right to the heart of what I’m talking about.
He said you should go on asking questions “until you are quite sure you know everything you need to know in order to make your judgment,” he said.
“That’s not a matter of distrust, but a matter of being serious about your responsibility as a professional.”
The founders of ICAS were ahead of their time when they chose the motto: quaere verum, seek the truth. This search is the hallmark of the professional.