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CAQ Snapshot: January 2020

Thursday, January 30, 2020

2019 Review Highlights CAQ Impact

The year 2019 was one of action and change for the public company auditing profession and the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ). To highlight and recap the CAQ’s key activities and accomplishments in support of audit quality, the CAQ has published its 2019 Review.

“In all [the CAQ’s] efforts, we moved forward, true to our mission and the profession that we serve with pride,” says CAQ Executive Director Julie Bell Lindsay in the publication. “We are excited for what is to come in 2020.” To request a hard copy of the 2019 Review, please email us.

FT Letter Provides US Perspective on Auditing’s Past and Future

“The auditing profession has never relented in its drive to address problems, adapt, and improve,” writes Julie Bell Lindsay in a January letter to the editor published by the Financial Times. Responding to an earlier op-ed, Lindsay provides FT readers with context regarding the US experience since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as perspective on how the multidisciplinary model at auditing firms is key to both enhancements in audit quality and the profession’s future in a financial system in which risks and investor needs continue to evolve.

“In a rapidly changing global economy,” Lindsay says, “firms’ deep, diverse subject-matter expertise helps auditors to understand and independently evaluate the ever-broadening array of business risks by tapping into expert colleagues in specialized areas.”

Auditor Independence: Key Questions and Answers

“Being independent is integral to the auditor’s role,” writes CAQ Technical Director of Professional Practice Vanessa Teitelbaum, CPA, in this January 2020 article on LinkedIn. Teitelbaum focuses on a December 2019 proposal from the US Securities and Exchange Commission to modernize its auditor independence framework. She provides an overview of noteworthy proposed changes, along with views from the CAQ on the implications of the proposal for audit quality, audit firms, and competition in the market for audit services.

Anti-Fraud Collaboration Highlights Potential of RPA

The use of robotic process automation (RPA) has great potential in efforts to deter and detect financial reporting fraud, according to a new article from the Anti-Fraud Collaboration. Authored by Financial Executives International (FEI)—a founding organization of the Anti-Fraud Collaboration along with the CAQ—the post is the first in a Collaboration series of articles on emerging technology and fraud.

“There are many ways in which implementing RPA can mitigate a company’s fraud risk,” says the article. These include enabling reassessment of current processes, lowering the potential for human error through automation, and searching for anomalies.

Yet, despite this potential, FEI finds that only 16 percent of companies currently utilizing RPA considered mitigating fraud as a factor when deciding whether to implement robotics. Thus, the technology “represents a defining opportunity for financial professionals as they embrace emerging technologies in fraud mitigation.”

Podcast: The CAQ’s Crystal Cooke Talks about Career Paths in Auditing and More

Interested in accounting and auditing as a potential career choice, or weighing the benefits of becoming a CPA? Get views on these topics and more from Crystal Cooke, CAQ Senior Manager of Governance and Talent, on a January episode of Life in Accounting, the Where Accountants Go podcast.

Among other topics, Cooke shares thoughts on her own career experience, as well as the extensive efforts at the CAQ and throughout the profession to attract top talent and foster greater diversity in accounting and auditing. “Changing diversity is a long-term process,” she says on the latter. “As long as we keep fighting in the right direction, we’ll see change.”

Zlatana Alibegovic Joins CAQ Stakeholder/Communications Team

In January, the CAQ welcomed Zlatana Alibegovic as a Director of Stakeholder Engagement on the CAQ’s Stakeholder Engagement and Communications team. In this role, she will oversee the CAQ’s digital portfolio, including social media, its website, and its email content strategy across a variety of initiatives.

Zlatana comes to the CAQ from Eli Lilly and Company, where she led digital capabilities enablement and its enterprise marketing transformation strategy. She earned her master of arts degree in public affairs from The George Washington University and her bachelor of arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Check Out These Upcoming Events

2020 Accounting Programs Leadership Group & the Federation of Schools of Accountancy Annual Joint Seminar

February 7–8, 2020; Long Beach, CA
Liz Barentzen, CAQ Senior Director of Human Capital and Administration, will speak at this annual event, which brings together accounting program directors, department chairs, and deans.

Practising Law Institute: Corporate Governance—A Master Class 2020

March 6, 2020; New York, NY
Catherine Ide, CAQ Senior Managing Director of Professional Practice and Member Services, will appear at this one-day event, which helps bring directors and company executives up to speed on the latest governance trends.

REITwise: 2020 Law, Accounting & Finance Conference

April 1–3, 2020; Washington, DC
At this conference, hosted by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Catherine Ide will join a panel on key regulatory developments at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission.