About the AQF
The AQF’s purpose is to encourage stakeholders to work together by promoting open and constructive dialogue on important audit issues of the day in order to generate practical ideas for further enhancing quality and confidence in independent audit. It has helped to drive change in auditing that has not required new legislation or regulation.
The AQF was established in 2004 at the instigation of the UK government during a time of intense debate and public scrutiny about audit. It is an independent and unique institution that brings together representatives of auditors, investors, policy-makers, academics, business, regulatory bodies and NGOs.
The AQF is hosted by ICAEW and is supported by the UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The AQF is not a policy making body; recommendations made by the AQF are passed to the appropriate body to consider and take forward.
The Forum brings together individuals from relevant stakeholder groups with the aim of achieving consensus for a common purpose. It has no formal status in law and continues for as long as participants consider that it can produce useful outputs.
Call for independent review into audit standards
The audit profession has its origins in the UK and the UK profession has been at the forefront of global innovation and change ever since. However, the expectations of investors and wider society around audit have increased in recent years, and the profession and those with an interest in audit need to respond. Since the forum held in November 2017, the AQF has been calling for an independent review to explore how best to address the resultant expectation gap and build renewed confidence and trust in the quality of auditing.
Following the November forum, the AQF Steering Group, initiated so-called Project Flora and the search for an independent chair to lead the review. That search was underway when Carillion collapsed, putting in motion a chain of events that included BEIS taking ownership of Project Flora and appointing Sir Donald Brydon to lead the review.
The important works undertaken by Sir John Kingman and the Competition and Markets Authority have removed potential barriers to a fundamental examination of the role of audit itself. Sir Donald’s review now presents a long-standing opportunity to look at how audit needs to change.