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Audit & Assurance

The purpose of our Audit & Assurance business is to protect the public’s trust and confidence in the capital markets. Our core objective is to carry out consistently high-quality audits and provide assurance services. We connect with the finance professionals and audit committees of the entities we audit, as well as with our people and with society. In doing so, we aim to deliver a superior quality experience that serves the public interest and inspires our people.

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, we are proud of our efforts and of the results we delivered. Our financial results in 2020/2021 exceeded our expectations. Compared to last year, our revenues grew (+8.4%) to €249.1 million, which enabled us to invest in quality, our people and our transformation and innovation programmes.

Launching Strategy 2023

2020/2021 was the first reporting year on the road to realising our firm’s 2023 ambitions, and marked the launch of the Audit & Assurance business Strategy 2023. We made sure all our professionals and partners were actively involved in a wide range of initiatives, including a series of internal dialogue and engagement sessions that spanned the full breadth and depth of our practice.

Underpinning the roll-out of our Strategy 2023 are our culture programme and culture compass. These will be invaluable tools as we strive to become more inclusive, adaptive and focused on team efforts – both strengthening and celebrating our teamwork. We made considerable progress in these areas in 2020/2021 and they will remain important points of focus for the years ahead.

Five foundation pillars

Our Audit & Assurance business’s Strategy 2023 centres upon five strategic pillars. Each pillar covers several focal themes, to guide us and help us realise our aspirations.

  • Superior quality experience: (1) culture of excellence and learning, (2) consistent execution of high-quality audits, (3) continuous risk monitoring and risk sensing, and (4) being in control on quality;

  • Unrivalled talent experience: (1) broad roll-out of our culture programme, (2) enhanced focus on well-being and learning, and (3) execution of talent transformation programmes;

  • Balanced growth: (1) focused targeting opportunities (2) enhancing our growth capability, and (3) optimising our growth processes;

  • Transform & Technology enabled: (1) shift to a more agile, adaptable and ‘future-aware’ mindset, (2) accelerated embedment of our transformed audit approach, and (3) further development of our automated data-driven audit;

  • Future of Audit: (1) developing meaningful and relevant responses to evolving stakeholder needs, and (2) taking the lead in the public debate on the future of auditing, actively engaging with a broad range of stakeholders on relevant themes.

  • Themes like financial viability, fraud, sustainability and cyber security are becoming ever more prominent in audit practices, accompanied by an increased pace of change – especially technological change – and a greater need for adaptability. Responding to these and other non-financial themes will expand our impact and improve what we are able to do to help our clients and other stakeholders. We also aspire to leverage our leading market position and our high audit quality, so we can sustainably grow and transform our business in preparation for the next round of mandatory auditor rotations.

People

In line with our purpose, we foster a culture of learning and inclusiveness, invest in our leadership capabilities and provide opportunities, growth and purpose for our people. This year, we have become more diverse, with, for example, 9.7% non-Dutch and 34% female professionals among our 1,644 (+0.7%) partners and employees.

"In line with our purpose, we foster a culture of learning and inclusiveness, invest in our leadership capabilities and provide opportunities, growth and purpose for our people."

Society

Beyond our own people, it is important for us to connect with external stakeholders. This is a key part of our Future of Audit efforts, that focus on enhancing audit quality. This quality agenda is especially relevant as we prepare for the next round of mandatory audit rotations in 2023/2024 as to us audit quality is a key differentiator. In 2020/2021, we actively contributed to various sectoral initiatives, such as by leading the taskforce focused on improving fraud detection.

Future of Audit

We find ourselves at a pivotal moment in time, with increased interest from a wide range of stakeholders for our role in the financial ecosystem. Expectations are high, and we strongly believe we are up to the task of delivering on those expectations. We believe to be leading in audit quality, and we have built a strong foundation as we continue to transform the way we perform our audits in the upcoming years and develop the audit product of the future. We aspire to have a leading role in the ‘Future of Audit’ developments, as we focus on (i) transparency through Audit Quality Indicators, (ii) moving the needle on how auditors address fraud risks and going concern, and (iii) further ramping up our efforts to strengthen our culture of learning and inclusiveness. We are taking an active role to lead the public debate on the future of the profession. We have a responsibility to do the right thing in the public interest. Always. While keeping pace with the ever-changing world.

Clients

We have a positive impact on numerous organisations thanks to our first-class audit and assurance expertise. Beyond our central audit and assurance services, this reporting year we were called upon to provide support to various COVID-19 state aid programmes (‘NOW’) for the entities we audit.

Key challenges

The first main challenge we face is to ensure we keep up with the changes in our industry. We believe the best way to do this is in fact to stay ahead of these changes where possible: we aim to drive transformation and innovation, leading the way for our profession. Our clients require a range of highly relevant, high-quality services, and our task is to anticipate – and deliver on – their needs, with solutions that are fit for the Future of Audit.

A second key challenge is to improve inclusion and diversity in our business. We know that by fostering an environment where people from all backgrounds feel valued and included, we can add value and thereby improve the impact we have not just on our employees, but also on our other stakeholders. Our ambition is to be a ‘learning organisation’ by making sure we are transparent, reflective and open to change.

We are proud of our efforts and the results we delivered during this challenging year! We are committed to the role we play in protecting the public’s trust and confidence in the capital markets and we aim to deliver a superior quality experience that serves the public interest and inspires our people.

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