Respondents also raised concerns that key numbers reported by companies – eg, adjusted earnings and industry-specific numbers such as same-store sales and revenues per unit – do not require an audit review.
Over half of those surveyed said that preliminary statements should be audited, while there were also calls for more information on how “aggressive” management teams have been when applying judgement and accounting policies in their financial statements.
But some warned that imposing new assurance standards – which would have to be published to cater for the increased requirements – should not have the unwanted effect of making companies disclose less information in their accounts.
Richard Sexton, deputy global assurance leader at PwC, said: “It is clear that investors have strong views about the future direction of reporting. We ignore those views at our peril, but they need to be put alongside other stakeholders’ positions to see what is possible. Any solution will need to balance carefully the standardisation that rules create with the flexibility that companies need in order to express themselves.”
The research report, “Assurance today and tomorrow”, can be found at: http://pwc.to/Ub8gHQ