Anton Colella: Creating the auditor of the future
Anton Colella calls on the profession to work together to create the auditor of the future and prevent a future skills gap.
Audit has long been a cornerstone of global business.
Since the financial crisis of 2007/08, much has been done to evolve and improve the profession.
But ICAS and the UK Financial Reporting Council have just released a report which comes to a stark conclusion – unless we take action now, we may not be able to meet the future demands of audit.
I believe this shows our profession is facing the very real possibility of a drastic skills gap in audit.
The simple fact is that audit is changing fast – and the scope of what an auditor is and does is growing rapidly.
The auditors of tomorrow will move beyond the traditional financial statement audit to deliver deeper and more holistic insights on company performance.
They will focus more on forward-looking information and societal and environmental issues, such as corporate culture and natural capital.
These changes mean that the skills of auditors must now adapt to deliver the audit of the future.
In a world increasingly driven by technology and big data, auditors will need to have first class technology and data interrogation skills.
As the remit for auditors continues to increase, so too will the need for advanced business and commercial acumen.
And, tomorrow’s auditors will need to exercise more professional judgement than ever before over a growing range of business issues.
Professional bodies like ICAS, together with firms, regulators, standard setters and investors, must now do all that they can to help create the ‘auditor of the future’.
We need to evolve the skill base of auditors, whilst we continue to evolve audit for tomorrow’s business world.
The profession must also make audit more attractive so we secure and retain the most talented individuals.
We must take every opportunity to reposition audit for the next generation and demonstrate the value of an audit career.
Tomorrow’s audit will play an even more important role in society. I believe it is vital that we work together across the profession to ensure we rise to this challenge.