At a lunch meeting of the Auditing and Assurance Standards Council (AASC) a couple of weeks ago, I joined new and returning members to take on our new challenge for the new year: We were inducted into the council by Board of Accountancy (BOA) Chair Joel Tan-Torres in preparation for our three-year tenure. Outgoing Chair Roberto Manabat was in attendance to oversee the changing of the guards and to ensure continuity in the important work the AASC undertakes.
The AASC was established by the Professional Regulation Commission to assist BOA in establishing and promulgating auditing standards in the Philippines. It has steered our practice through some challenging times, including the post-Enron period, which saw public clamor for more stringent accounting standards and a stronger check-and-balance role for us auditors.
During Mr. Manabat’s tenure, one of the biggest changes the council oversaw was the implementation of the enhanced auditors’ report (EAR), which sought to increase the transparency of, and confidence in, the audit process and financial statements. This was a major shift in our profession, and involved a great deal of stakeholder outreach and dialogue, and information dissemination on the part of the AASC.
This is the kind of diligence and proactiveness we – the council members for 2018 to 2020 – intend to emulate and sustain as we take over from the previous team.
One of the advantages of the AASC is that our membership spansall areas of the audit profession, including the regulatory bodies that oversee the work we do as auditors. We have representation from BOA (Gerard Sanvictores); the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commissioner Antonietta Ibe, and her deputy Emmanuel Artiza as an alternate); the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP Deputy Commissioner Lyn Javier); the Commission on Audit (Fidela Tan); the Association of CPAs in Public Practice (Arminda Acyatan-Guerrero of Acyatan & Co.); the Philippine Institute of CPAs, which is further broken down to big firms (Lucy Lim Chan of SGV, John-John Patrick Lim of PwC, Sharon Dayoan of KPMG, Jun Cuaresma of P&A Grant Thornton, and Haydee Reyes-Arcenas of Reyes Tacandong & Co.,); small and medium practitioners (Jerome Constantino of Constantino Guadalquiver & Co., Rosemary De Mesa of Diaz Murillo Dalupan, Corazon Enriquez of Valdes Abad & Co., and Ramon Garcia of R.F. Garcia & Co.); commerce and industry (Jose Joel Sebastian of ICTSI); the academe (Concepcion Lupisan of Miriam College); and government (Arnold Navales of Davao Water District).
I’d like to think that this membership makeup allows us to look at auditing-related issues from various angles and also ensures that all stakeholder voices are heard. In fact, during our induction, we already had a spirited discussion about some of the more pressing issues affecting our profession, such as the SEC Oversight Assessment Review andthe varying reportorial requirements laid down by regulatory bodies. While we are still working on arriving at a consensus, we are happy to note that the dialogue has started and all the concerned parties are at the table. No doubt this new council has hit the road running.
On a more personal note, it is a great honor for me – and I admit, a bit daunting – to take on the chairmanship of the AASC for the first time. I became a member in 2005 and have always enjoyed the work of the council and recognized its value in an auditor’s practice of the profession, especially now as businesses continue to grow in complexity and sophistication. We recognize that along with that, the pressure on us as auditors to not get lost in the complication, to continue serving the public interest also increases.I speak for the rest of the council when I say we’re ready for the challenge and we look forward to working with our peers to strengthen the audit profession in ways that inspire public trust and confidence.
The author is the Audit & Assurance Leader of Navarro Amper & Co., the local member firm of Deloitte Southeast Asia Ltd. – a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited – comprising Deloitte practices operating in Brunei, Cambodia, Guam, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.