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What New Trends in Auditing and Accountancy Should Students Know About?

Like almost every other industry in the world, accounting and auditing is going through a period of rapid change. The recent amendments to the Certified Public Accountant Examination (CPA), one of the toughest accounting credential exams, sums it up best. The exam board announced in 2021 that it was putting more emphasis on understanding business processes, automation, data analytics, and the need for “a digital and data-driven mindset.” It's also phasing out more 'analogue' topics, including the difference between IFRS and GAAP standards and specialized knowledge on estate taxes and trust.

Apr 26, 2022
  • Education
What New Trends in Auditing and Accountancy Should Students Know About?

This changing industry requires a new kind of tech-savvy, forward-thinking professional who can embrace change. So what are the top trends to watch out for this year? And where's the best place to study if you want a career in today's accounting and auditing industry? Find out the answers below.

Audit of cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have gone mainstream. Billion-dollar companies like Microstrategy and Tesla now have huge amounts of Bitcoin on their balance sheets. Similarly, established investors and money managers like Paul Tudor Jones and Ray Dalio are backing Bitcoin as a major inflation hedge.

In March this year, Joe Biden signed a landmark order to help the USA develop and use digital assets in a responsible manner. It's the first time the world's largest economy has made a move to regulate the cryptocurrency market, which is currently worth almost $2 trillion.

The move will help provide clarity to investors, holders, and regulators concerned with auditing, accounting, and taxing digital assets. The IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission have already issued some guidance on taxing and auditing these new assets. However, much uncertainty remains around which rules to follow and even which cryptos qualify as assets, securities, or money. As Jay Schulman, principal at RSM and the firm's national leader of blockchain and digital assets, puts it, "it's going to take some time for everybody to get on the same page."

Auditing standard for less complex entities

Less complex entities, or LCEs, make crucial contributions to local and global economies. In fact, LCEs account for the majority of entities worldwide. LCEs are businesses and organizations with a small concentration of managers and owners. Other characteristics of LCEs include uncomplicated transactions, simple record keeping, and few internal controls.

To help these small and medium-sized entities thrive, regulators and other stakeholders are proposing new measures that would streamline and simplify accounting and auditing processes for LCEs. The objective is to develop a separate standard for LCEs, addressing issues and challenges related to complexity and scalability.

A draft standard for the new audit of LCEs was released by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board last year. It's now working through feedback and comments before beginning work on a final draft due at the end of 2023.

Impact of the COVID on auditing

The COVID-19 outbreak raised unprecedented challenges for companies, accounting professionals, and auditors.

Travel restrictions are likely to remain in place throughout 2022. As such, auditors who travel overseas for work must stay up-to-date on laws and regulations, including testing, quarantine requirements, and potential penalties or fines for any breaches.

Moreover, staff and management shortages because of illness or travel restrictions could limit a company's ability to provide supporting evidence during an audit. Often, auditors need to have detailed discussions with management to obtain the information they require for preparing financial statements.

The ability to gather and provide evidence may have been affected in other ways, too. Bank closures may result in an inability to confirm cash balances, and issues with suppliers and supply chains may lead to delays or gaps in the reporting and audit process.

Emerging trends in internal auditing

Barclay Simpson, an international recruitment consultancy, has identified three key auditing trends to follow over the next few years.

It believes artificial intelligence and advanced analytics tools will become an integral part of internal audits for large and smaller organizations in all sectors.

Then there's the increasing focus on auditing a company's culture. Barclay Simpson believes auditing a company's values, purpose, and how it matches up to these goals will become just as important as financial and regulatory audits. "Company culture is becoming an increasingly important subject to many organizations," states the report. "It's been pinpointed as an important part of any company's talent attraction and retention strategy. When top talent is in scarce supply, company culture and employee satisfaction should be a top priority for all."

A holistic approach to third-party risk management is another idea that organizations and auditors are taking more seriously. Barclay Simpson expects this focus to increase over the next decade. "In the light of COVID-19, internal audit has put a greater focus on assessing third-party vendors' means to support themselves should there be future disruption to supply chains," reads the report. "Beyond contract management, internal audits must now examine the proficiency of remodeled supply chains and assess the risk they pose today and in the future.”

ICADE Business School

ICADE Business School is one of the best places to go to learn the skills and knowledge you need to become a 21st-century auditing and accounting professional.

As an integral part of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, the ICADE Business School has a strategic commitment to producing graduates who are ready to succeed in dynamic and evolving financial sectors.

Its Master's Degree in Financial Risk Management provides specialized training. Comillas trains for finance, auditing, and accounting roles of the future. The full-time program comprises four modules. The first one is core training aimed at gaining a thorough understanding of the theoretical background necessary to work as a financial risk manager. The second one provides the students with specialized knowledge that is specific to the field, while the third and fourth modules involve a dissertation and an internship in the sector.

The changes happening at the moment in the industry, especially in regulatory compliance due to digitalisation, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and more, has created a great need for talented graduates in these fields. Because of this and the quality of the program, job placement is almost 100% just six months after completing the degree.

You'll learn everything from a faculty full of highly experienced finance and business professionals. Over 50% of the business school's teaching staff are in senior management positions at successful companies, while 97% of professors combine teaching with a profession, giving students excellent current and real-world insight into industry. Tutors and lecturers include Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, and Chief Information Officers. Professional internship opportunities are offered to all students and the majority of students who carry out internships do so in the specific areas they would like to work in after graduating. An impressive 97% of graduates from this course are now in full-time employment.

Students can develop similar knowledge and skills on the Executive Program in Business Analytics. This field is in strong demand by the labor market and with excellent growth prospects. The program trains students in the principles of analytics and its application to business problems. Graduates have robust analytical skills and have worked on real case studies in the fields of strategy, sales, marketing, finance, HR, operations, and logistics. This blend gives graduates the professional skills to facilitate dialogue between the technical and business areas and build innovative value propositions based on data.

Students Guillermo Sánchez and Paula Conejos praise the education they have received at ICADE. Guillermo says ICADE “provides an excellent education and training, which provides the foundation to develop a successful professional career in an area in high demand at companies”. While Paula says the education she received from ICADE Business school allowed her to specialize “in a booming sector with many job opportunities".

And ICADE Business School is now accepting applications for this exciting Master's programme. Visit its website for information on when and how to apply.

Article written in association with ICADE Business School.

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Ashley Murphy


After graduating with a degree in English literature and creative writing, Ashley worked as a bartender, insurance broker, and teacher. He became a full-time freelance writer in 2016. He lives and writes in Manchester, England.