KUALA LUMPUR: The Securities Commission's Audit Oversight Board (AOB) has urged audit firms to strengthen their talent pipeline and capacity-building across various roles to facilitate higher quality audits.
“Capacity and competency of audit practice talent remain one of the key audit quality indicators.
"Audit firms should consider longer term solutions to high talent attrition rates with expedited technological adoption being a key consideration, along with more concerted efforts for greater gender diversity and promote positive audit work culture," said AOB chairman Datuk Anantham Kasinather in a statement.
This comes following the release of the AOB’s Annual Inspection Report 2021, which highlighted the key findings of the AOB's inspection of 14 audit firms, covering 45 partners and 54 audit engagements in 2021.
Incorporating a data-driven approach for major audit firms, the AOB’s inspection focused on areas of potential heightened risks that can affect the auditor’s overall audit strategy, allocation of resources, and extent of effort and attention given by auditors during audits.,
The regulator advised in the report that auditors should increase their alertness to risks stemming from the unpredictable business environment.
It said focus should be given to areas such as fraud risks, related party transactions and management override of controls.
"While the major audit firms have fared well in most of the areas assessed, the challenge remains for them to maintain consistently high audit quality across all engagements as five of the six Major Audit Firms had at least one engagement that required significant improvements.
"In addition, some of these audit firms can improve in reinforcing a positive culture, particularly in building greater trust in the audit firms," said the AOB.
It added that a number of engagements requiring significant improvements in other audit firms have been trending higher.
"In light of these observations, the AOB reminds all Audit Firms against complacency and the need to strive for high quality audit particularly in an increasingly challenging business environment," it said.