The 14th Annual Audit Conference, hosted by Baruch College on December 3, 2019, once again brought together auditors, regulators, standards setters, and preparers to discuss current topics in auditing.

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The conference’s perennial theme of “Ensuring Integrity” featured in the context of continuing challenges to improve audit quality, provide greater transparency into professional judgment, and keep up with emerging technologies.

The SEC’s Mark Panucci, the PCAOB’s Megan Zietsman, the IAASB’s Tom Seidenstein, the ASB’s Mike Santay, and NASBA’s Noel Allen all shared details of their respective organizations’ current agendas and future projects, with an emphasis on implementing recent major guidance. The keynote speaker, PCAOB chairman William D. Duhnke, detailed the efforts of the board, whose entire membership turned over in early 2018, to transform its inspections, enforcement, and standards-setting processes in a way that will improve audit quality. He also spoke about the board’s renewed focus on engagement and outreach to investors and auditors, improving its own internal efficiency, and meeting the challenges presented by emerging technologies.

Panels at the conference addressed a variety of current issues. One focused on the implications on the profession of potential wider use of blockchain technology in the audit; another dealt with the first examples of reporting of critical audit matters (CAM). The challenge of crafting standards that are scalable across small, medium, and large entities was the focus of another panel. The conference concluded with a panel speculating on the litigation and regulatory risks facing CPAs as a result of recent regulations, including the advent of CAMs and emerging technologies. The panelists represented 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.