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Why bother with assurance?

The profession is engaged in an active and important debate about the impact of existing and expected audit exemptions. There is limited air space to debate assurance as well. However, assurance provides a route to other services that clients will need in place of statutory audits. So why not make the time?

As a profession, we argue that the audit is necessary as a means of ensuring the reliability of financial information; it supports the world’s financial infrastructure. Who wouldn’t place more reliance on an audited (versus unaudited) set of financial statements? So why do I advocate assurance? 

If I’m running a small company, that does not mean I don’t need assurance in any form once the statutory audit has gone. The audit is a multi-purpose tool that has evolved over time to include a lot of elements and addresses the needs of many. But once it is gone the underlying business needs do not go away. There remain many topics that either give cause for concern among management or warrant some form of assurance because that is needed by a third party. 

Even when a statutory audit is no longer required, the underlying business needs remain. Auditors can meet these needs by providing focused third-party assurance, as John Ward explains...

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This is an extract from an article in the October 2014 edition of Audit & Beyond, the magazine of the Audit and Assurance Faculty. 

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