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Firms need to rethink their business models, head of Swedish institute tells DFK members

The Institute for the Accountancy Profession in Sweden (FAR) secretary general Dan Brännström has called on accounting firms to rethink their client offering in order to better adapt to future market trends.

"Many audit and accounting firms have been successful for a long period with traditional business models and now is the right time to review those models and come up with more modern solutions and develop new services," Brännström said speaking at DFK International annual conference.

He explained that two years ago FAR had commissioned a study into the future of the profession, and a key outcome of it was the need to differentiate services, for instance, not providing the same audit for small companies as for complex financial institutions.

As such, since January 2014, FAR as part of the Nordic Federation of Public Accountants has worked in collaboration with other institutes in the region on the development of a Nordic audit standard for SMEs.

The Standard for Audits of Smaller Entities (SASE) was published in early July of this year for consultation.

"The standard is principle based. Rather than tell the auditor how to carry out the audit, it will be up to the auditor's professional judgement," Brännström told the DFK delegates. "The audit must be very risk focused and the auditor should design the right procedures to be able to submit a report that will give the same level of assurance as an ISA based audit."

He believes that if adopted in the Nordic region, the standard could be rolled out to other countries as according to him it has already attracted interest from around the world.

DFK International executive director Martin Sharp said that while SASE is very topical for firms throughout the Nordic region, other member firms from around the world had been very interested to hear about the project.

The standard is out for consultation until 19 October 2015, and can be consulted here

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