Enlightening Professions


  • Public services

Can the audit profession take greater responsibility for the way it evolves, or will it continue to be driven by legislators in response to perceived legislative failures?  There is a risk that top-down change will further undermine trust in the profession, and therefore ultimately undermine the value that audit can and should offer the economy and broader society.

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This report is a partnership between the RSA and AuditFutures. It draws on a literature review, a call out for evidence through the RSA Fellowship, semi-structured interviews and a variety of contributions from people inside and outside of the audit profession.

The report finds the profession in a reflective mood. Of the more than 200 people we interviewed or who fed into the project, the majority were auditors, and most were keenly aware that their profession faces searching questions. Thrown into the spotlight by the 2008 financial crisis, it is grappling with the consequences of long-term changes in business, technology and society.

Audit’s struggle is unusually public, but many of the issues the profession faces are shared by other traditional professions, whose value is challenged by our inexorable move into a financialised, data-rich and trust-poor world.

We believe that the decisions made by the audit profession in the coming years could prove influential in shaping the future value of other professions seeking to agree a fresh understanding of their public interest role. We hope that this report will encourage greater collaboration and debate across the professions.


Picture of Steven Frank
Steven Frank

Picture of Martin Martinoff
Martin Martinoff

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