The Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN’s) Audit Regulatory Group (AARG) has partnered with the World Bank to build on and support existing efforts to share knowledge and promote good practices of audit oversight within the countries that make up the ASEAN Community. This collaborative workshop in Bangkok continued the establishment of the Audit Oversight Community of Practice for the prospective AARG members (AOCoP) i.e. the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

Jarett Decker, Head of the CFRR, opened the workshop and highlighted that while the optimal model for a public oversight body depends on specific national circumstances, key elements for an effective structure include adequate funding and staffing, as well as governance arrangements that ensure independence from the audit profession and political influence. He stressed that “it would be better to have no oversight than to have one staffed with people who are not sufficiently experienced or competent in auditing”.

Country Presentations on Audit Market and current status of audit regulation

Each country representative shared presentations on the status of the audit market as well as audit oversight and quality assurance mechanisms in their respective countries. Andrei Busuioc and Abbas Kizilbash from the CFRR team built upon these sessions by sharing international experiences in setting up audit oversight and quality assurance programs, from the perspectives of institutional arrangements and funding and staffing and including the role of Professional Accountancy Organizations.

Perspectives from CAPA and the ADB

Improving Audit Quality through Audit Oversight and Quality Assurance Systems

Abbas Kizilbash led the session on the role of Professional Accountancy Organizations (PAOs) and their contribution to sound oversight of audit profession. Brian Blood, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Asia Pacific Accountants (“CAPA”) shared with the participants the CAPA maturity model for Professional Accountancy Organizations (PAOs), the recently developed Audit Quality Assurance Good Practice Guide and shared his experiences with the Australian Institute’s Quality Assurance model. Strong and credible PAOs should play an important role in audit regulation and positively contribute to the regulation of audit profession.
Srinivasan Janardanam, Principal Financial Management Specialist from the Asian Development Bank (“ADB”) shared the scope and status of ADB’s Technical Assistance for piloting Audit Quality Assurance systems in Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and Samoa.

Learning from the Cambodian experience

Improving Audit Quality through Audit Oversight and Quality Assurance Systems

Representatives from Cambodia with the assistance of Frederick Yankey, Senior Financial Management Specialist, World Bank shared their experiences and knowledge on designing and implementing an audit quality review system. They discussed approaches adopted and implementation plans including for the development of in country by laws, QA manuals and training plans. Mr. Chen Phat from the Audit Quality Monitoring Committee (AQMC) also highlighted that the biggest challenge in the establishment and maintenance of a public oversight and quality assurance system in Cambodia will be finding a structural budget to hire experienced Quality reviewers. Participants informed the organizers that learning from the experiences of Cambodia was extremely useful and interesting.

Open Forum

The workshop concluded with an open session moderated by John Nyaga, Senior Financial Management Specialist, World Bank which helped to identify AOCoP-PAM activities to support the development objectives of the group over the medium term.