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Talent retention, commoditisation emerge as major trends in auditing

TALENT attraction and retention issues as well as commoditisation of audit services are some the key trends affecting Singapore's audit sector.

These are similar to the trends impacting the audit landscape globally, according to a recent forum for audit regulators held in Taipei, which was attended by members of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR).

At a panel session jointly hosted by IFIAR's Investors and Other Stakeholders Working Group and the Global Public Policy Committee Working Group, head (enterprise development group) for Temasek International, Dilhan Pillay, encouraged audit firms to avoid commoditisation and to better demonstrate the value of audit to alleviate fee pressures.

He also stressed the need to equip audit committees with the required tools and information to ascertain their auditors' quality.

Acknowledging these concerns, Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority's (Acra) chief executive Kenneth Yap noted that Acra's Practice Monitoring Programme currently monitors audit talent and audit quality indicators such as staff turnover and percentage of partner hours spent on engagements as part of its inspection programme.

He added: "As part of our continued drive to raise the quality of audit, Acra is also exploring new initiatives such as improving the transparency of communication on audit quality matters between audit firms and audit committees. Such communication would enable audit committees to better assess their auditors and gauge a firm's commitment towards audit quality."