Public audit oversight: Streamlining European countries’ oversight regimes

In its report, Accountancy Europe, a professional membership organization uniting 50 professional organizations representing qualified accountants, auditors and advisors across Europe, provides clarity on the structure of public audit oversight following changes within European Union (EU) audit legislation in 2014. In light of one key objective within the changes in EU regulation: harmonization of public audit oversight, a Committee of European Auditing Oversight Bodies (CEAOB) was established to foster necessary changes and cooperation between the single representative bodies. According to Accountancy Europe, the CEAOB is not equipped with the necessary powers to target this key objective.

Based on an analysis and comparison of public audit oversight bodies of 30 different European countries (including all EU Member States) regarding several factors including the institutional character of the audit oversight body, the sources of funding as well as important key activities, the author addresses the lack of CEAOB’s power, subsequently offering different streamlining means and suggestions. Precisely, alongside suggestions within operative work, Accountancy Europe argues in favor for giving the CEAOB the power to set common guidelines and coordinated methodologies ensuring convergence. Additionally, an enlargement of inspections on not-compliance exercises including the use of professional skepticism and judgement is proposed. In this context, inspections are understood as educational and remedial means to improve quality, not sanctioning actions ex-post.

You can download the report here.