A new generation of auditors is looking to take the corporate culture out of the audit process and provide more transparency to the business community.
The new tools could be the biggest shift to corporate accountability in a generation, says John D. Hart, an accounting professor at Duke University.
For example, auditors are now able to create audit documents that can be shared with stakeholders and the public.
“The ability to create auditing reports and documents that are publicly available and accessible is really a first for us,” he says.
Audit and disclosure are both tools for creating a more open, accountable culture.
That is, they both enable stakeholders to see the actions and the intent behind the business practices.
In a world of unaccountable executives, Hart says, this transparency can be more important than ever.
The rise of a new generationOf course, the most important thing for auditors to understand is that auditing is a collaborative process.
“When we’re talking about the business side of the process, we need to be able to get the information that we need from all sides,” Hart says.
Auditing has always been about giving insight into the actions of an organization, but it’s been easier for auditing to be a collaborative exercise.
The auditing process is so collaborative that Hart and his colleagues at Duke are also creating a tool that allows the public to help in the audit and disclosure process.
In addition to being available for free, the new tools are available in the form of an online course that can help participants assess their own organization’s performance.
The course will be available on the University of Rochester website at the end of February, Hart explains.
Auditors can take the course and complete the auditing portion of the course in a week or two, which allows for more time for reflection.
The course is open to anyone from anywhere in the world, including members of the business world, Hart points out.
“What I think is very important is that people who want to audit can take it,” Hart adds.
“We’re hoping to provide people who are interested in the audited side of things the opportunity to help themselves.”
Hart says he is excited to see how the course will impact the community.
“It’s a really good way for people to be engaged in this process,” he adds.
The new tools can be used by anyone who wants to help assess the performance of an organisation.
Hart says that if the course is successful, he hopes that other institutions and universities will take up the challenge.
“I think we can all learn a lot from this, and this will make it much easier for people who have an interest in this subject to do it,” he said.
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