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No 6 (January 97/Janvier 97/Januar 97)
At a Conference on the Role, the Position and the Liability of the Statutory Auditor in the EU organised by the Commission on 5-6 December 1996, 200 representatives of professional institutes and public authorities responsible for the audit profession discussed the future of auditing in Europe, as a follow-up of the Green Paper on the Role, the Position and the Liability of the Statutory Auditor in the EU, adopted by the Commission in July (see SMN No 5).
There was general agreement that the EU should have a common framework for auditing and that such a framework should preferably be based on the International Standards of Auditing (ISA) of IFAC. A proposal was made by the Commission to set up a new consultative body composed of representatives of Member States and of the accounting profession. This body will review existing ISA's, examine their compatibility in a European context and formulate common positions on exposure drafts issued by IFAC, working on the basis of input from the accounting profession. The idea received wide support.
It was generally agreed that the supervision of the audit function should be carried out preferably by the profession itself, but under governmental supervision. The role of the auditor should be seen in the wider context of corporate governance. On the important subject of professional liability, the Commission suggested launching a study next year which will examine the civil liability regimes in Member States. Other conclusions drawn by the Commission on the basis of comments received on the Green Paper relate to the cooperation between the accounting profession and academia on the coordination of curricula for the training of auditors, an examination of the systems of quality control in Member States and an improvement of the existing of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services in the audit field.
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