The global financial crisis has shaken the accountancy profession to its core and raised questions about how well audit provides an early warning system.

Increasing EU Regulation, The Big Four  and the current state of the accountancy profession all came under scrutiny from the expert panel at RSM’s annual international conference this year, raising questions such as: can increased industry regulation improve competition? Would mandatory audit rotation  be harmful?

However, the question over how all 160 European banks that had to be bailed out in the financial crisis had previously received a clean bill of health from auditors  was a crucial point. As Bob Dohrer, chair of the debate, asked: ‘if we as auditors are not warning the market of systemic risks, then what are we there for?’

Clearly, auditors need to do more to prove that they’re not irrelevant. The panel agreed that it’s a challenging time to be an accountant, but Jean Stephens asks in the RSM World Blog, are times so tough for accountants that many would rather be actuaries?

However, despite the challenging environment, the panel agreed that, in some ways, the importance of audit has never been greater. More focus on risks and a demand for transparency means an increased need for auditors to provide assurance. Find out why it’s still good to become a chartered accountant.

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