It is a season of constant change for the audit industry.
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has issued new standards, businesses are bailing on the Big Four and opting to have smaller firms conduct their audits, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury recently formed an advisory committee on the audit profession to improve audit practices.
Then there's the impending adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards, which regulators in the U.S. and across Europe are working to reconcile with U.S. generally acceptable accounting principles (GAAP).
One organization that has secured two seats on the Treasury's advisory council is the Center for Audit Quality. Formed just a year ago to present a unified response to regulatory changes and act as "an image booster" for auditors generally, center representatives have taken to the streets to listen to what investors and other industry stakeholders think about public company audit practices.
In a recent interview with CFO.com, the organization's executive director, Cynthia Fornelli, discussed what the group has found so far:
[I]nvestors don't necessarily want more information; they want more useful information. They're looking for quality over quantity... Other things we're seeing is that the financial information needs to serve a wide array of investors, and that investors would like technology to be harnessed in a way that they can slice and dice information on their own and further customize it.