The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has released a strategy and work plan for improving audit quality in the new few years.

The IAASB, which operates under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants, released its Strategy for 2015–2019: Fulfilling Our Public Interest Mandate in an Evolving World and its Work Plan for 2015–2016: Enhancing Audit Quality and Preparing for the Future last week. The strategy and work plan reflect the IAASB’s commitment to strengthening public confidence in financial reporting and contributing to the ongoing relevance of the financial statement audit, while staying abreast of emerging developments to ensure its work addresses pertinent public interest matters relevant to its wide range of stakeholders.

The board’s five-year strategy is underpinned by three strategic objectives that reflect a continued focus on International Standards on Auditing as the basis for high-quality audits, the importance of the IAASB’s standards for other services to address emerging needs of stakeholders, and the board’s intention to strengthen collaboration with others to address public interest matters relevant to its work. These objectives will guide the board’s work throughout the five-year period.

“The widespread and growing international use of the clarified ISAs underscores the importance of the IAASB continuing to focus its efforts on maintaining the quality and proportionality of these standards, and to meeting the expectations that stakeholders have regarding their application,” noted IAASB chairman Arnold Schilder in a statement. “As a result, the board’s initial focus in its five-year strategy is designed to address key topics relevant to audits, while at the same time monitoring other relevant developments.”

Influenced by the findings from the IAASB’s ISA Implementation Monitoring project and its outreach program, the work plan for the next two years prioritizes the most important public interest issues and impacts on audit quality, including group audits, quality control, professional skepticism and audit considerations relevant to financial institutions.

The IAASB said it also recognizes the role that its other assurance and related services standards play in addressing the needs of investors and other users as financial and integrated reporting evolves. “The ongoing work of our Innovation Working Group, as well as considerations of whether our standards for services other than audits are meeting the needs of small and medium-sized entities, will be invaluable in keeping the board informed of matters relevant to its stakeholders and informing future standard-setting and other activities,” said IAASB technical director Kathleen Healy.

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