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Audit & Assurance Conference 2024

Monday 10 June | Sustainability Assurance – Embracing the future

Against the backdrop of an unprecedented demand for sustainability assurance services, hear from a range of experts on the growing opportunities and challenges facing preparers and assurance providers today.

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Highlights

The conference aims to provide attendees with a range of perspectives on the importance of sustainability assurance, an overview of the current and evolving regulatory landscape, alongside some practical advice on how to go about preparing for and delivering sustainability assurance.
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Expert insights

Hear from a range of speakers about the importance and value of sustainability assurance.

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Get inspired

Gain valuable insights and practical advice on how to prepare for and provide sustainability assurance.

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Interactive discussions

Discuss how to tackle some of the challenges and opportunities facing preparers and assurance providers.

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Latest developments

Keep up to date as this topic continues to evolve, including ISSA 5000 and CSRD assurance.

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In-person networking

Reconnect and grow your network with like-minded professionals.

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CPD

Log verifiable hours towards your CPD requirements.

2024 programme

Registration and refreshments
9:30
Welcome and opening remarks
David Isherwood, Chair of the Audit and Assurance Faculty Board
10:00
Keynote: Sustainability and the role of the profession
Hear from Malcolm Bacchus, President of ICAEW, on his expectations of the profession, the key role of external reporting and why high-quality assurance is so important in building trust and confidence.
10:10
Panel: Why is sustainability assurance so important and what challenges and opportunities does it present?
With stakeholders placing greater importance on a company’s social and environmental impact than ever before, our expert panel will explore the rising demand in sustainability assurance and the key role it plays in underpinning high quality and consistent sustainability reporting, and providing value to businesses and their stakeholders. Against the backdrop of an evolving regulatory landscape, our panelists will share their experiences of the practical challenges it presents and the opportunities it can offer for the future. | Jessica Fries, Executive Chair, Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) | Carolyn Clarke, Founding Partner, Brave Consultancy | Adrian Crompton, Auditor General, Audit Wales | George Richards, ESG Reporting & Assurance Partner, KPMG | Supriya Sobti, Head of Climate & Purpose, NatWest Group
10:30
Refreshment break and networking
11:40
Panel: Getting to grips with sustainability-related data
Sustainability-related data is not always readily available, easily comparable, or verifiable, but it is fundamental in understanding a company's performance. In this session, we will explore the unique characteristics of sustainability-related data, and what constitutes good quality data. Hear from our panel as they share their experiences and discuss how preparers and assurers can draw upon existing skills to overcome some of the challenges and how we can manage and improve the availability and quality of sustainability-related data. | Hugo Pinto, Client Services, Engine B | David Marriage, Sustainability, Disruption and Innovation Lead, PwC | Lisa Rabone, Chief Data & Sustainability Advisor, Eden Smith Group | Ru Pearce, Co-Founder & CEO, Rewired Earth
12:00
Lunch and networking
13:00
Optional lunchtime session - The sustainability accountant: developing resilience
Cristian Holmes, Chief Executive, caba
13:15

Please note that the programme is subject to change.

Breakout session
14:00
Getting started
Getting started with preparing for and providing sustainability assurance can be challenging. Join us for this session to understand how you can use your existing skills, enhance your competence, and what practical steps you can take, and the resources available to support you, including ICAEW’s Sustainability Certificate qualification. | Rosie Dunscombe, Founder and Director, Blue Crane Consulting | Michelle Cardwell, Principal, International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)
Option 1
Clarifying the complexity of sustainability assurance
Moving beyond a base level understanding of the regulatory landscape, this session will focus on key regulatory topics and their impact on sustainability assurance including CSRD and ISSB standards. | Steve Farrell, Head of ESG Assurance, Deloitte
Option 2
Update on the Proposed International Standard on Sustainability Assurance (ISSA 5000)
Hear from Josephine Jackson, vice-chair of IAASB as she shares an update on the key themes from the recent consultation on the proposed sustainability assurance standard.
15:00
The future of sustainability assurance
We shine a spotlight on the direction of travel for sustainability assurance. How are stakeholder expectations evolving? What are some of the key professional skills and ethical considerations, preparers and assurers need to be aware of? And what does the future landscape look like? | Mardi McBrien, Chief of Strategic Affairs and Capacity Building, IFRS Foundation | Kris Nathanail, Chief of Staff, IOSCO | Fiona McNally, Reporter, Responsible Investor
15:40
Closing remarks
David Isherwood, Chair of the Audit and Assurance Faculty Board
16:15
Networking drinks reception sponsored by Suralink
16:20
Close
17:00

Our speakers

Headshot of Josephine Jackson
Josephine Jackson Vice-Chair, IAASB

Josephine is a Director at the UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and leads its Sustainability Group. In her role, she also works on audit quality initiatives, including the development of audit and assurance standards for the FRC. Josephine has been a Board member on the IAASB since 2019. Prior to joining the FRC, she was in the audit practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers after joining the firm in 1993.

David Isherwood
David Isherwood Ethics Partner, BDO and Chair, Audit and Assurance Faculty Board

With a background in audit, David specialises in audit ethics and public policy matters and is a member of the UK firm's Business Interest Oversight Board. He is also Head of Technical Standards Group's Audit Advisory team, which is responsible for large parts of the firm's audit methodology, audit and related tools, quality control and training. David is Chair of ICAEW's Audit and Assurance Faculty.

MIchelle Cardwell
Michelle Cardwell Principal, International Federation of Accountants

Michelle leads IFAC’s project to incorporate sustainability into the International Education Standards. A chartered accountant, she works to promote the development, adoption, and implementation of high-quality international standards. She has extensive experience in financial management, external reporting, assurance, and sustainability from her previous roles at the FRC Lab, ICAEW and Deloitte.

Carolyn Clarke
Carolyn Clarke Founding Partner, Brave Consultancy

A former external and internal audit Partner with PwC, Carolyn combines more than 25 years of experience as an auditor and advisor to a wide range of organisations, with in-house experience as a FTSE 30 Head of Audit, Risk and Control and as a member of the Senior Leadership Team. Carolyn founded BRAVE, a consultancy focused on: Changing Governance. From Within. For Good.

Headshot of Adrian Crompton
Adrian Crompton Auditor General, Audit Wales

Adrian was formally appointed to the position as the Auditor General for Wales by HM The Queen in July 2018. As head of Audit Wales, he oversees the annual audit of over £20 billion of taxpayers’ money and reports on value for money matters across the Welsh public sector. Prior to his current appointment, he held various senior roles within the Senedd and, before then, in the House of Commons.

Headshot of Rosie Dunscombe
Rosie Dunscombe Founder and Director, Blue Crane Consulting

Rosie founded Blue Crane Consulting in 2021 to help businesses and the public sector integrate sustainability into accounting, decision-making and strategy. She has 20+ years of experience as a Chartered Accountant and an environmental economics master's degree. She is lead author of the Capitals Coalition's Biodiversity Guidance, authored ICAEW's Sustainability Certificate and sits on the Technical Reference Group of the ISSB.

Headshot of Steve Farrell
Stephen Farrell Head of ESG Assurance, Deloitte

Steve, a chartered accountant, has extensive experience in audit, internal audit, and regulatory implementation. Working across major industries, he has a thorough technical understanding of products and control practices for non-financial risk management, and significant experience of assurance over sustainability information and the design and operating effectiveness of processes and controls to report on non-financial information.

Jessica Fries
Jessica Fries Executive Chair, Accounting for Sustainability (A4S)

Jessica has led A4S since 2008, working with Chairs, CEOs, CFOs and other leaders from across the business and finance community to make sustainable business, business as usual. She has been responsible for catalysing change in corporate reporting through the establishment of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), as well as transforming decision making through A4S’s CFO, education and capital markets programmes.

Cristian Holmes
Dr Cristian Holmes Chief Executive, caba

Cristian writes and speaks widely on associations, professions and the not-for-profit sector. Cristian holds a PhD from the University of Leicester that explored associations and professions. Prior to joining caba, he was Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. He has worked in the mental health wellbeing sector for over 20 years.

David Marriage
David Marriage Sustainability, Disruption and Innovation Lead, PwC

David focuses on enabling markets to benefit from emerging trends and latest technologies. He is redefining how sustainability data is captured and used by Financial Services, Corporates and Policymakers to enable the transition to Net Zero and enable markets to operate sustainably. David is one of the founding members of Rewired Earth, a not-for-profit initiative designed to “create a business case for sustainable action”.

Fiona McNally
Fiona McNally Reporter, Responsible Investor

Fiona covers the French and Australian sustainable finance markets, as well as sustainability standards and assurance, and DEI. She was previously a reporter at Private Equity Wire and Hedgeweek.

Headshot for Mardi McBrien
Mardi McBrien Chief of Strategic Affairs and Capacity Building, IFRS Foundation

Mardi led the Climate Disclosure Standards Board for over a decade, during which the CDSB published the first global capital market framework for reporting investor focused information on climate, environmental and social matters to capital markets. CDSB’s work underpins the TCFD and TNFD frameworks and was foundational in establishing the International Sustainability Standards Board, where Mardi played a leadership role.

Hugo Pinto
Hugo Pinto Client Services, Engine B

Hugo is a leader in Digital, Data & Emerging technologies, and has a track record in creating and growing new products, as well as leading Digital and Innovation professional services businesses. He has over 20 years’ experience working across agencies, brands, and consultancies, and is deeply involved with the start-up and VC worlds, with a passion for education and sustainability.

Ru Pearce
Ru Pearce Co-Founder & CEO, Rewired Earth

Ru is Co-founder & CEO of Rewired Earth, a not-for-profit coalition that seeks to rewire the financial system, so that it can effectively reward an organisation's positive impact on people and the planet. Working collaboratively with individuals, activists, governments and business, it is building a shared language for sustainability using the UN SDGs; giving everyone a voice, and businesses a reason to change.

Lisa Rabone
Lisa Rabone Chief Data & Sustainability Advisor, Eden Smith Group

Lisa is a business consultant, c-suite, and board advisor with three decades of experience driving successful change. Lisa leads global cross-functional talent communities and she passionately embeds value-based business-for-purpose strategies that focus on protecting revenue, growing relationships, building resilience, and innovating for future regeneration.

Headshot of George Richards
George Richards Partner, Head of ESG Reporting and Assurance, KPMG

George leads on ESG Reporting and Assurance. His background is in financial statement audit and non-financial information assurance. He provides ISAE 3000 assurance opinions over a range of different ESG metrics and advises companies on preparing for and complying with existing and incoming ESG reporting requirements. He also sits on the UK Endorsement Board’s Sustainability working group.

Supriya Sobti
Supriya Sobti Head of Climate & Purpose, NatWest Group

Supriya leads on climate measurement, development of the climate transition plan as well as Sustainability reporting. Supriya has worked in the Banking industry for over 15 years and has held various roles within Finance, Regulatory and Risk areas. More recently, she has focused on leading large scale change implementation related to regulation and reporting. Prior to this, Supriya worked at EY in their Assurance practice in India and UK. Supriya was born and brought up in India and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.

Our partners

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Headline partner: Suralink

Suralink provides accounting professionals with a secure PBC platform to collaborate with clients, exchange documents at scale, and track the progress of engagements. Suralink's award-winning client interaction portal helps firms increase efficiency and improve their relationships with their clients. Suralink's open platform is used by over 500,000 businesses worldwide.

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Circit

Circit helps audit firms perform higher quality audit engagements, client collaboration and gives audit firms the power to instantly verify assets at source. Audit innovation and security is at the core of the Circit platform which is fully integrated and independent.

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