Accounting trend observers report that audit and assurance services regarding environmental, social, and governance reporting, as well as cybersecurity risks, continue to be prominent issues for auditors. Retaining and recruiting talent also remains among the profession’s more significant concerns amidst the “Great Resignation,” as workers look for more fulfillment from their employment. Auditors have found themselves at the forefront of professional environmental changes, having to operate more efficiently and do more with less.

Center for Audit Quality

The Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) is a public policy organization formed in 2007 to serve public company auditors and investors. The CAQ develops, and makes available at, a variety of resources for public company accounting firms and stakeholders, such as news alerts, audio recordings, videos, guides, white papers, and research reports. CAQ places a lot of emphasis on how auditors can add value and improve or expand their practices. The website is also a handy place to keep up with current events in the audit world. An easy way to access topic-specific materials is through the “Resource Collections,” found under Explore Our Work, then Audit Resources ( Three subjects that offer substantial coverage are environmental, social, and governance assurance; cyber-security; and future auditors. These materials are available to all users for free without registration.

The “Evolution of Audit” section allows accountants to catch up with what their audit colleagues around the country are experiencing. An “Audit in Action” resource ( provides highlights of innovations by some of the larger CPA firms, such as Deloitte’s “digital transformation” during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by using communication and collaboration tools, Deloitte’s audit committee lab, and a cloud-based audit platform. Also related to COVID-19, BDO made a commitment to continue audit internships to reduce disruption to the preparation of future auditors. In addition to the specific profiles, Audit in Action presents short topical discussions, for example, “The Role of Technology in the Modern Audit” (, which presents four short videos, including “Evolution of the Audit: Technology” that includes an overview of how technology changes have affected the audit profession through the eyes of several auditors.

The “Role of Auditors in…” addresses the involvement of auditors with company-prepared information; non-GAAP and key performance indicators; environmental, social, and governance assurance; and cybersecurity. The materials can be viewed in webpage format, with options to drill down for further discussion. Each topic includes links to numerous other resources, including reports from the CAQ and other organizations, videos, and articles. For example, company-prepared information covers the different types of information, characteristics of decision usefulness, and where auditors can play a greater role. The online materials are also available in a downloadable 16-page PDF, “The Role of Auditors in Company-Prepared Information” ( that complements the website.

Center for Audit Quality

The impact of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information on audit practice is introduced in the “Role” sections of the website (, which provides the basics of the ESG terminology and concepts, an extensive overview of how ESG is reported, and most importantly the auditor’s role in ESG reporting. Several examples are presented, and a helpful Practitioner’s Guide is available online ( or can be downloaded as a 28-page PDF ( The guide includes appendices with a list of AICPA resources, and a discussion of key actions for establishing ESG reporting with links to underlying resources. The auditors and ESG information webpages, found under “Evolution of Audit,” provides resources for auditors who want to expand their work in this area. “A Deeper Dive on Assurance” covers the types of assurance services that can be offered regarding ESG information, as well as the auditor’s responsibilities, and is available for download in a five-page PDF (

Cybersecurity materials can be found under “Role of Auditors” ( and “Resource Collections” ( The “Role” section provides overviews on required public disclosures and voluntary disclosures, the auditor’s focus on access controls and changes to systems and data, computer operations controls, the reliability of company prepared information, and the effectiveness of internal controls. CAQ also presents practice growth ideas for an increased auditor’s role with regard to cybersecurity in assessment and attestation engagements ( Many of the CAQ cybersecurity resources are focused on boards of directors. For CPAs who are serving as full-time or part-time instructors, there are a few classroom resources available under “Connecting Auditors and Academics” (

“Future Auditors” resources are focused on promoting entrance into the auditing profession by describing the mobility and flexibility of an auditing career as well as by emphasizing a sense of purpose in serving the public ( The CAQ has collaborated with Roadtrip Nation to create the Discover Audit website, which shares personal auditor stories and CPA candidate resources ( The main CAQ website contains several classroom or training videos available for instructors (, as well as a downloadable two-page “CAQ Classroom Resources on Public Company Auditing Topics: A Guide for Academics” that identifies where these resources can be found on the CAQ website (

The CAQ has also created websites for its two new initiatives to increase the pipeline of diverse accounting students, which are excellent resources for recruiting students into the accounting major and prospective graduates into the auditing profession. Accounting+ ( promotes the personal interests and abilities that are ideal for auditors, the exciting lifestyle and career options available, and the large demand for new accountants. BoldAmbition ( documents the profession’s dedication to diversity and inclusion, as well as its commitment to the career success of future accountants.

Critical Audit Matters

In addition to adapting to the challenges that the COVID-19 environment have brought to the accounting profession in general, auditors have faced one of the most significant changes to the auditor’s report in decades. The PCAOB adopted AS 3101, The Auditor’s Report on an Audit of Financial Statements When the Auditor Expresses an Unqualified Opinion, which requires auditors to communicate critical audit matters (CAM) in the auditor’s report. The new requirements took effect for large filers for years ended after June 30, 2019, and for years ended after December 15, 2020, for all others.

The PCAOB’s AS 3101 webpage ( presents the standard itself, but also several handy staff guidance documents. For example, a five-page PDF, “Implementation of Critical Audit Matters: The Basics,” defines CAM, describes examples and provides the required language to be used in the auditor’s report ( “Implementation of Critical Audit Matters: Staff Observations from Review of Audit Methodologies” is a three-page summary that highlights several observations and ties them to the new standard. “Implementation of Critical Audit Matters: A Deeper Dive on the Determination of CAMs” provides a seven-page Q&A to further describe examples and address common issues.

KPMG’s CAMs webpage ( includes a six-minute video made in connection with the CAQ that provides an overview described as an opportunity for auditors to better understand what are or are not critical matters. KPMG also provides a downloadable four-page booklet that briefly describes CAMs and the new standard.

Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA/CGMA, is the Louis J. and Ramona Rodriguez Distinguished Professor of Accounting at Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Tex. She is a member of The CPA Journal Editorial Advisory Board.