In this newsletter:
> An interesting mix of academics and practitioners: interview with Willem Buijink
> FAR Conference Program
> Selection of FAR Research Proposals 2018
> FAR will chair panel discussion on “Audit Firm Culture, Ethics, and Leadership” at the International Symposium on Audit Research
Interview with Willem Buijink, chair of the 3rd International FAR Conference and FAR Academic Board Member, and Judith Künneke – FAR Vice Managing Director
Willem: Well, I have been in and out of auditing research during my career. This is an ‘in’ period, thanks to FAR. So when asked to do this, I could not say no. Also, it reminds me of the early 1990’s when we organized one of the first auditing research conferences in Europe: MARS. Jan van de Poel, accounting professor there, had brought Ted Mock to Maastricht. Ted organized an auditing research conference in Los Angeles at the time, so it was natural to do one in Europe as well. Over time, of course, MARS merged into the well-known series of ISAR conferences. This history also makes it fun to chair this year’s FAR conference. A conference, similar to, but much bigger than MARS at the time.
Judith: Why would you advise your colleagues to visit the FAR Conference?
Willem: What differentiates the FAR Conference from other regular auditing research conferences is the much higher number of audit practitioners participating. This diverse mix of academics and practitioners attending makes the FAR conference really interesting for my colleagues in academia.
Judith: What does the auditing profession need from auditing science? And vice versa?
Willem: To explain this you have to categorize the ‘profession’ into different parts. There are the auditors in public practice, their counterparts in business (accountants in business), the audit industry regulators and the audit industry oversight bodies. Auditing research has so far focused mostly on researchable issues related to regulation and oversight. Real direct audit process research, focusing on auditors in practice and accountants in business, and their interaction, is scarce, due to lack of data. FAR explicitly promises to facilitate direct audit process research. And this is really happening now! It will hopefully lead to even better auditing in the future.
Judith: What would be the best outcome of this conference edition?
Willem: You know, the audit process research of FAR will need to lead to the design of better auditing practice. Academic researchers have an analysis mindset. Practitioners tend to have, naturally, a design mindset. Quality design needs quality analysis. When we will really observe the necessary coming together of both mindsets with regard to auditing practice, then we should be happy.
Judith: Thank you for your insights, we are looking forward to have you opening the conference!
FAR Conference Program
The FAR Conference takes place on 5 and 6 June in Breukelen, so if you haven’t registered yet, now is the time! For the latest program details, please visit: www.foundationforauditingresearch.org/international-far-conference-2018. We are looking forward to welcoming you at our host, Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Breukelen.
Selection of FAR Research Proposals for 2018
As in previous years, FAR issued its 3rd call for research proposals in December. This year FAR emphasized three topics:
- Data driven auditing: How are data driven audits (e.g., big data and block chain analytics) impacting audits? What is audit evidence in the realm of a data driven audit?
- Audit quality indicators: What are the most informative engagement level AQI’s during the audit?
- Audit committee involvement: What is the impact of (increased) audit committee involvement with the audit on audit quality?
FAR also invited researchers to submit other topics relevant to the institutional development of the auditing profession and research into the drivers of good audit quality. FAR believes that research has the potential to identify those factors that influence audit quality in daily practice. To that end, FAR supports projects using multiple research approaches and methods as to arrive at a balanced, evidence-based perspective of informing the auditing practice.
This year, in total we received eight FAR Research Proposals following our call in December 2017. The general conclusions of the FAR Board were that the average quality of the research proposals was again high. Nevertheless, we had to make conscious decisions in selecting proposals that go to the next stage. FAR believes that it is important that, amongst other criteria, the proposed projects address topical issues of the audit profession, are feasible in terms of data gathering, and that the projects lead to the highest ranked academic publications. Unfortunately we had to let go three projects for that reason. Next to directly accepted proposals, we also asked teams to enhance their project before we can accept their work. The FAR Board is excited about the new projects, thanks all research teams for their submissions, and hopes to finalize this year’s project selection before summer.
FAR chairs panel discussion on “Audit Firm Culture, Ethics, and Leadership” at ISAR 2018
FAR will organize the panel discussion on “Audit Firm Culture, Ethics, and Leadership” at the International Symposium on Audit Research (ISAR) on 7 and 8 June 2018. ISAR is one of our leading auditing research conferences (see: www.isarhq.org/ISAR2018.html).
The main question of the panel is: How do audit firm culture, ethics, and leadership drive audit quality? Willem Buijink (Academic board member of FAR and professor of accounting at Open Universiteit and Universiteit Tilburg) will chair the discussion on potential avenues for future research into culture, ethics, and leadership as underlying determinants of the professional behavior of auditors. The panel will consist of:
- Egbert Eeftink (Head of Audit of KPMG the Netherlands, professor of accounting at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) on KPMG’s “True Blue” culture change program, rebuilding public trust, and his most important questions for research.
- Jean C. Bédard (Timothy B. Harbert Professor of Accountancy, Bentley University) on new insights and avenues for future research on the topic.
- Olof Bik (Academic board member and managing director of the Foundation for Auditing Research, associate professor at Nyenrode Business University) on FAR’s research agenda on the topic, knowledge exchange and research collaboration between science and practice.
Audit firm culture, ethics, and leadership are arguably more proximate to the audit process than professional, institutional, or regulatory approaches that emanate from outside the firm. Therefore, these aspects provide fruitful avenues for audit firm management, public policy makers, and researchers to explore potential ways to strengthen audit quality.
For more information on the program and registration: www.isarhq.org/ISAR2018_Programme.php
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