ICAEW’s AuditFutures is an innovative and collaborative initiative. We are an action-research programme that uses interdisciplinary thinking, design-led processes and interactive workshops to reimagine the audit profession.
Our ambition is to motivate and empower professionals by creating a more positive and creative vision of audit. We aim to catalyse innovation by challenging current practices and creating spaces for dialogue, collaboration and experimentation.
Since its earliest days, in the tailwinds of the global financial crisis, AuditFutures has been initiating open, collaborative dialogues on the future of the audit profession. We have engaged with a community of more than a thousand people, in audit and beyond, to gain deeper insights into their experiences, ideas, inspirations, philosophies and predictions, and to learn from them. The energy, passion and commitment of our community were the driving force for our work.
Along the way, AuditFutures has explored new and different ways to reimagine audit and take the profession out of its comfort zone. We have facilitated deep, collaborative discussions; iterative and cross-professional learning; and shared practical approaches to ‘thinking differently’ and considering things from alternative points of view. Adopting these approaches has enabled people in and around the audit profession to critically reassess their present and envisage a better future.
AuditFutures has always had a clear vision for the profession: to serve society. Understanding, questioning and unpacking the social purpose of the audit profession has been at the heart of our projects and workstreams. Now, these dialogues can help to create the clarity of social and economic purpose that is needed to guide progress in audit as a practice, service and profession.
Evolution is necessary. Just as audit developed to meet the needs of the past, it must develop to meet the evolving needs of the present and anticipate the needs of the future. To do this, those in and around the audit profession will need to enter unfamiliar territory, consider uncomfortable questions, and adopt unfamiliar ways of thinking and seeing.
AuditFutures has explored, developed and applied approaches that could allow for positive and meaningful change by: actively seeking fresh perspectives; listening to and understanding young auditors; learning from other disciplines and professions; improving collaboration with the academic community; and thinking conceptually differently about audit.
To redesign the audit profession so that it brings out the best in its people, it needs to be self-critical; each and every auditor needs to question their own values and assumptions. Auditors need to think about the sort of society we all want to create and consider the wider role and purpose of the audit profession in serving the public interest.
The profession should invite fresh perspectives and radical thinking to assist it in understanding key issues facing the profession and the society it serves, so that it can create better solutions which are in the public interest. It should strive to respond dynamically to evolving social and economic needs, technologies and work patterns; to reassess and renew its role and strengthen its place in society.