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July 4, 2011

Investors critical of audit reporting

UK investors rarely read audit opinions or “bland” audit committee reports, according to a PwC UK survey.

The PwC Audit today and tomorrow study which sought investor views on the future of audit found that audit committee reports would be more helpful if the lid was lifted on the talks between auditors and audit committees, which currently take place behind closed doors.

Investors also called for auditors to provide assurance on performance measures.

PwC UK board member responsible for reputation and public policy Richard Sexton said the views of investors and analysts are critical to the audit profession’s aim to underpin trust and confidence in the capital markets.

“They clearly value the audit process, but in calling for more timely assurance, investors and analysts have laid down the gauntlet. The profession needs to accept the challenge no matter how difficult the task to achieve it,” he said.

Sexton also added that, “if we want an assurance and reporting model that adds value to the capital markets, all market participants – analysts, investors, regulators, companies and auditors will need to be engaged in the debate.” 

The PwC study found mixed opinions regarding corporate governance with many corporate governance specialists welcoming additional going concern information, rating the adequacy of current disclosure as poor.

However, mainstream investors did not express interest for additional detail on going concern by saying enough information can be gleaned through management and other sources.

PwC UK conducted 22 in-depth interviews with UK based investors for the purpose of this study.


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