The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the UAE Ministry of Economy jointly hosted the Second Regional Audit Conference entitled “Professional scepticism: raising the bar”, last week in Dubai.
Delegates were welcomed by HE Abdullah M Saleh, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and heard key note addresses from HE Yaser Abdalla Amiri, Director General of Financial Audit Department and Member of the Executive Council, Government of Dubai and Mr Paul M Koster, Chief Executive of the DFSA.
HE Abdullah M Saleh, Governor of the DIFC, in his welcome address mentioned: “It is wonderful to see the growing collaboration between government entities on such an important matter that has a direct impact on audit quality and ultimately financial statements. Secondly, this annual conference is reflective of the DFSA’s and the Ministry of Economy’s dedication to training and development of the auditing profession in the Middle East.”
HE Yaser Abdalla Amiri, Director General of Financial Audit Department and Member of the Executive Council, Government of Dubai stated that: “The important issues that are under consideration and discussion at this conference came in a timely manner because we in the UAE are looking forward to put in place rules and principles of corporate governance commensurate with our needs and with the business environment in our region”.
The event attracted some 230 delegates from nine countries in the region and internationally. Conference speakers and panelists included Brian Walsh, Member, International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants; George Botic, Deputy Director, Division of Registration and Inspections, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board; Gavin Aspden, Director Qualifications, ICAEW; and Dr Obaid Saif Al Zaabi, Director of Research and Development, UAE Securities and Commodities Authority.
Keynote speakers from global regulatory bodies, industry experts and academia raised issues including:
• Professional scepticism and the public interest – who does the auditor serve?;
• Ethical considerations for accountants;
• The use of financial instruments and their future use in audits; and
• Audit quality and inspections;
Interactive panel discussions with industry experts, regulatory bodies, the Big 4 accounting and audit firms discussed various issues including:
• Providing an industry viewpoint on professional scepticism;
• Lessons learned from the crisis, from a Big 4 perspective;
• Auditing in the small business environment – challenges and developments; and
• The role of regulators in enhancing the professional scepticism of auditors.
The DFSA also highlighted the role of the DFSA and shared recent developments in the DFSA’s audit monitoring approach and some key inspection findings.
Mr Paul M Koster, Chief Executive of the DFSA said: “The year-end 2011 may be the most challenging auditors have ever faced. After four consecutive years of the worst financial crisis we have seen since World War II, auditors will have to make very difficult judgment calls requiring and demanding scepticism which is integrally linked to independence and objectivity.”
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