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Public Oversight and Quality Assurance Community of Practice Workshop

15 - 16 December 2009, Vienna

A workshop for the FRTAP Public Oversight and Quality Assurance Community of Practice was organized in Vienna by the Centre for Financial Reporting Reform (CFRR) on 15-16 December 2009.

Summary


Objectives

The objective of the workshop was to establish good relations between the members of the CoP, to exchange information about how audit oversight was approached in the member countries, and, drawing on members’ views and needs, to draw up a work program for the CoP’s future activities.

Description

The workshop, the first to be held for this CoP, was attended by representatives from public oversight bodies, finance ministries, and auditors’ associations from Poland, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia as well as by staff from the CFRR. It was organized as part of the FRTAP program, funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) as part of the Swiss Enlargement Contribution.

The workshop started with presentations from each of the countries present on how the system of public oversight of auditing operated in their particular country.

These were followed by a discussion of the general challenges facing public oversight bodies. This was focused around presentations by Jon Hooper, from the UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) on how the oversight system operated in the UK and from Sabine D’Amelio, from the Swiss Federal Audit Oversight Authority (FAOA), on how the public audit oversight and quality assurance system operated in Switzerland.

The workshop then moved on to discuss more specific topics. Andrew Meek from the UK’s FRC outlined some issues in the design of public oversight systems, including the format of reports and the advantages of using an electronic system in managing the review process. John Carchrae from the CFRR presented a discussion of two issues in training: how to train the board members of public oversight bodies and then how should the POB’s inspectors be trained in quality assurance systems. There was also a discussion of whether the countries involved could draw on the experience of other members of the CoP in setting up the public register of all statutory auditors and audit firms that the EU Statutory Audit Directive requires.

The workshop concluded by discussing what areas the CoP should usefully focus on in its future work. Participants agreed that the CoP would be useful in helping to improve the co-operation between the POBs in the different countries. In particular, the CoP could provide a way to share inspection methodologies, to discuss particular issues (such as the balance between direct and indirect oversight and the definition of non-practitioners). It could also be a useful mechanism for discussing emerging issues with the European Commission.

Results

The participants agreed the priorities for the CoP’s future work and decided that the community should aim to meet every six months, with the second meeting intended to be held in the first half of 2010.




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