The planned reform of audit requirements in Sweden is causing a
debate amongst firms surveyed in this year’s IAB Sweden
survey (see A smorgasbord of opportunity).

At present, all limited companies in Sweden are liable for
statutory audits but a government committee is working on changes
to the legislation that will place a threshold on the size of
companies that require an audit. Most EU member-countries have
chosen to exempt small companies from the statutory audit
requirement and similar moves in Sweden could have a significant
impact as there are about 320,000 limited companies and the
overwhelming majority of these are SMEs.

Grant Thornton Sweden managing partner Peter Bodin said the reforms
could have a positive effect on the firm and the entire Swedish
audit profession.

“Yes, of course [the audit reforms] will affect us and everybody
else,” he said. “I think it will affect us in a mostly positive way
but it’s going to be a big challenge for our profession and all the
companies in Sweden to handle that change. There will be many
questions from a lot of people like, how should they work with
their auditors and advisor services in the future? I think it will
have a big change, but I feel comfortable that we will be able to
handle that. Other countries have made the same change and they
have coped well. In the UK market it was good for the business that
the threshold went up.”

Uncertain future

Although the threshold has not yet been set by the government, some
firms remain dubious about the impact the proposed changes could
have on the audit profession.

Baker Tilly Sverige managing partner Thomas Olofsson said: “At
present we are trying to attract new firms to Baker Tilly in
Sweden, but this is hard when you don’t really know what the
threshold is going to be. On one hand the government is telling
auditors that they must do this and this and then on the other hand
they are telling auditors that their services are no longer
needed.”

Melanie White