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What qualities should a good auditor have?

Monika SKÓRKA
Audit Partner at RSM Poland

The main purpose of an external audit is to protect the reliability of financial data presented by market participants in order to effectively reduce economic and investment risk. The role of a good auditor is not only to confirm the reliability of financial data, but also to go a step further, i.e. to identify customer needs, design a solution and implement it together – always in the context of the client's intended business purpose. A good auditor is able to understand the specificity of the industry, factors affecting competitive advantage and the business value of their customer, thanks to which the auditor is able to bring added value to the review. However, we need to remember that for the audit to bring the added value, it must be adapted to the specific nature of the customer's industry, and this in turn requires a lot of experience in cooperation with a given company.

It is this long-term cooperation and treating the auditor as a business partner and not a controller that result in the increased service quality, knowledge transfer and the possibility to identify financial, tax and legal risks, and also make it possible to find appropriate solutions.

The audit industry in Poland has been going through various transformations. Today, after the financial markets have undergone many changes and the business model has evolved, market expectations with regard to the audit industry are quite different. Auditors are now expected to better communicate the audit results and to have a broader view of the audited subject. Thus, a key element for the audit sector is to increase the impact attributed to the financial statements audit. To do that, auditors should begin to focus their work not on the verification of the historical financial data but on those elements of financial reporting that most affect the value of the business. Only in this way can they meet the expectations of the group of stakeholders in their broad sense. On the other hand, it is also necessary for those stakeholders to understand the purpose of the audit and the auditor's work, which will enable them to jointly determine the expectations of the cooperation with the auditor and the possible benefits of the audit.