The 13th Annual Audit Conference, hosted by Baruch College in New York City on December 4, 2018, once again brought together auditors, regulators, standards setters, and preparers to discuss current topics in auditing.

With a theme of “Ensuring Integrity,” the conference both covered the current state of the auditing profession and looked forward to future challenges. The IAASB’s Megan Zietsman, the Auditing Standards Board’s (ASB’s) Mike Santay, the PCAOB’s Jennifer Rand, and the SEC’s Mark Panucci all shared details of their respective organizations’ current agendas and future projects. Zietsman’s IAASB has been at the fore-front in terms of setting standards aimed at improving audit quality and enhancing auditor communications. The ASB and SEC have been conducting outreach while deliberating whether to follow suit or take their own path. Both Rand and keynote speaker James G. Kaiser explained how the PCAOB, whose entire board membership turned over in early 2018, is renewing its approach to its mission of ensuring audit quality and safeguarding the public’s trust in the profession.

Panels at the conference addressed a variety of current issues. One tackled how the profession is responding to the advent of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the ongoing evolution of cybersecurity, and the implications of technology on the audit process. Another dealt with how accounting estimates made by companies and the rules for auditing them continue to change, as well as how they impact risk and the reporting of critical audit matters. The continued importance of ethical standards to the profession and how the setters of those standards are keeping up with the constantly changing audit landscape was the focus of one panel. FASB’s new revenue reporting standard was another main topic of a panel, which discussed how its implementation is changing procedures and policies at both firms and their corporate clients. The conference concluded with a panel speculating on the litigation and regulatory risks facing CPAs as a result of recent regulations and evolving technologies. The panelists comprised a cross-section of the profession, with regulators, practitioners, academics, and other experts all weighing in on these topics.

The following articles present the speeches given by the featured speakers, as well as summaries of the panel discussions held throughout the day. The comments and opinions expressed at the conference and reproduced here represent the speakers’ own views and not necessarily those of their employers or affiliated organizations.