4 minute read 1 Jul 2019
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Engaging our people to drive audit quality

By

John King

EY Americas Vice Chair – Assurance

Advocate for audit quality and inclusive leadership. Track record of exceptional client service for large, multi-national organizations, as well as start-ups and rapid growth companies.

4 minute read 1 Jul 2019

At EY, improving audit quality is our top priority, and we deliver that message consistently to our 10,000+ US audit professionals.

As independent auditors, EY plays a critical role in serving the public interest by promoting trust in the capital markets. In today’s transformative age, we are focused on continually improving audit quality by investing in new technology, taking fresh approaches to address the most important risks in our audits and effectively implementing major new accounting and auditing standards. Improving audit quality is our top priority and we deliver that message consistently to our 10,000+ US audit professionals. 

Our 2018 audit quality report describes the actions we are taking to make sure our professionals are equipped with the right skills, the right mindset, and the right technologies and resources to execute quality audits. In addition to helping our stakeholders understand how we conduct audits today, the report provides a window into the ways in which our teams are engaged in delivering the audit of the future to meet the evolving needs of financial statement users. For example: 

  • Accelerating digital audit transformation. All of our audit teams around the world are using EY Canvas, EY’s digital audit platform that enables teams to monitor audit progress and simplifies client communication with real-time updates. What’s more, 90% of our teams on large US public company audits incorporated the use of EY Helix analyzers, our suite of data analytics, in their 2018 audits, allowing them to analyze full populations of data and gain a better understanding of the business and audit risks.

In addition, we are using emerging technologies to develop new capabilities, such as the EY Blockchain Analyzer, a proprietary tool that helps our audit teams gather an organization’s entire transaction data from multiple blockchain ledgers, reconcile the data with company records and identity items for follow-up.  These new technologies extend the trust and confidence gained through the audit to cryptocurrencies and blockchain assets, liabilities, equity and smart contracts.

  • Building diverse and inclusive teams. Our executives reinforce the importance of creating an environment where diverse perspectives are valued, and every team member can contribute to their fullest. We believe that helps us maintain a skeptical mindset, and underscores our commitment to independence and objectivity.  To track our progress, we monitor several measures. For example: 
    • Our class of newly promoted US audit partners was made up of 47% women or minorities (compared with 43% in 2017) and reflects significant, firm-wide efforts to create an equitable environment for all.
    • Ninety percent of top-rated US audit senior managers and managers continued their career with EY. This retention rate is bolstered by EY’s leading-class learning and development opportunities, and our focus on employee wellness exemplified by our continuing recognition as a “great place to work” by leading organizations, such as Fortune, DiversityInc, Working Mother and more.
  • Investing in the skills and capabilities of our people. Training our people on audit methodology and accounting standards is one of the ways we enable our teams to execute quality audits. Technical training and leadership training contribute directly to audit quality. In 2018 alone, our people devoted 97,000 hours to data analytics training and 21,000 hours of accounting and auditing training on the new leasing standard.

During FY18, US audit professionals spent an average of 112 hours in continuing professional education, far exceeding the profession’s minimum requirements of 20 hours per year and 120 hours over a three-year period. Continuous learning is central to realizing our commitment to continuous improvement and evolution of the audit.

On 1 July, Frank will assume the role of Vice Chair and Regional Managing Partner for the US-West Region. John will take on the responsibilities of Americas Vice Chair, Assurance. We’re excited about what lies ahead – and the opportunity to continue our work to strengthen the personal commitment to audit quality that our people have across the US.  

If you’d like to learn more about what EY has been doing to drive quality in the audit, visit Our commitment to audit quality and read our full report.    

Summary

As independent auditors, we plays a critical role in serving the public interest by promoting trust in the capital markets. 

About this article

By

John King

EY Americas Vice Chair – Assurance

Advocate for audit quality and inclusive leadership. Track record of exceptional client service for large, multi-national organizations, as well as start-ups and rapid growth companies.