The chairman of the board of Suomen Tilintarkastajat (Finnish Association of Authorised Public Accountants) was appointed as president of the Nordic umbrella organization of the profession. One of the focus areas during his presidency will be the role of auditors in sustainability reporting.
The chairman of the board of Suomen Tilintarkastajat is now also chairing the Nordic organization of the profession, Nordiska Revisorsförbundet, NRF. NRF is a forum for discussion and cooperation in the audit branch and comprises all the Nordic professional accounting bodies.
The united voice of Nordic auditors
The member bodies of NRF coordinate their efforts in the promotion of the interests of their members by forming common positions and actively bringing them to the profession’s international organizations. NRF is represented in the boards of IAASB, IFAC and Accountancy Europe.
The current focus areas of NRF are related to the role of auditors in providing assurance on sustainability reporting, the European audit reform, and the development of the audit of SMEs.
Common position: auditors to provide assurance on sustainability reports
The role of auditors in sustainability reporting is connected to the proposed EU directive, which is currently being discussed in Brussels. The purpose of the CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) is to give sustainability reporting a well-established status in companies’ reporting. According to the proposal, sustainability reporting would be mandatory for companies exceeding a certain size limit. It also needs to be determined who could provide assurance on the reports. The common Nordic opinion is that sustainability information should be subject to assurance in a manner similar to financial statements, and only auditors should be permitted to provide assurance on the reports.
Development of audit of SMEs is the organization’s long-term focus area
NRF has actively promoted the development of SME audits. There are concerns regarding the applicability of the international standards of auditing (ISAs) to audits of smaller and less complex entities. One of the achievements of NRF was to get the development of those audits onto the agenda of IAASB. As a result of this work, a standard for audits of less complex entities (LCE) is currently in progress.
The European audit reform will be a significant issue in the near future
The European Union plans to issue a proposal for an audit reform by the end of the year 2022. The background of the reform is in challenges relating to reliability of the capital market which culminated, among other things, as a result of the Wirecard scandal. The objectives of the reform relate to governance, audit and control. As far as auditing is concerned, the topics of discussion are likely to include the quality of audits and the concentration of the audit market. NRF will actively follow the discussion and is going to form its own position to the reform.
Ilkka Kujala emphasized the significance NRF’s role in the development of the audit branch.
– Regarding our influence, we are bigger than our size. There are significant matters currently on the table, such as the role of auditors in providing assurance on sustainability reporting. I am especially glad for the work done within NFR regarding the development of audits of smaller entities.
Ilkka Kujala’s presidency started at the end of August 2021.
The member bodies of the Nordiska Revisorsförbundet (NRF) are the Finnish Suomen Tilintarkastajat ry, the Swedish Föreningen auktoriserade revisorer (FAR), the Norwegian Den Norske Revisorsförening, the Danish Danske revisorer (FSR) and the Islandic Félag löggiltra endurskoðenda (FLE).