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Regulating third party assurance engagements on sustainability reports in Sweden – issues and challenges

Sonnerfeldt, Amanda LU (2013)
Abstract
The well-institutionalised notion of audits put forth that information subjected to independent examination by third parties potentially contribute to better quality information for decision making (towards more sustainable companies?). The presence of different assurance providers offering a myriad of services in the name of “sustainability assurance” led to concerns about their quality and comparability and as a consequence a call for standards to regulate these services. This study analyses how standards by the accountancy profession interplay with hard law to regulate assurance engagements on sustainability reports in Sweden. Sustainability assurance engagements by the accountancy profession are performed according to RevR6, developed... (More)
The well-institutionalised notion of audits put forth that information subjected to independent examination by third parties potentially contribute to better quality information for decision making (towards more sustainable companies?). The presence of different assurance providers offering a myriad of services in the name of “sustainability assurance” led to concerns about their quality and comparability and as a consequence a call for standards to regulate these services. This study analyses how standards by the accountancy profession interplay with hard law to regulate assurance engagements on sustainability reports in Sweden. Sustainability assurance engagements by the accountancy profession are performed according to RevR6, developed based on international standards representing the accountancy profession’s commercial logic and conceptual understanding of assurance. These engagements are however potentially “supervised” by The Supervisory Board of Accountants (RN) whose role could apply by default due to the arguable over-inclusive definition of “audit business” in the Auditors Act. As RevR6 only serve as “guidance material” to legal institutions, these engagements are supervised according to the legal audit concept and the auditors’ role as professional trustees. The fragmentation of regulatory systems, within which sustainability assurance engagements operate leads to legal uncertainty and systemic challenges. It is crucial for legal institutions to better deal with the lack of clarity through regulatory conversations or other means to better coordinate or steer the emergence of regulatory initiatives by private organisations in these new areas of “audit like” services as it clarifies the role assurance services can play in the drive towards sustainable companies. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
sustainability, assurance, standards, sustainable companies
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
668f7718-c1d1-4732-b220-181ed436ad5d (old id 4194880)
date added to LUP
2013-12-12 10:58:39
date last changed
2016-04-16 11:21:10
@misc{668f7718-c1d1-4732-b220-181ed436ad5d,
  abstract     = {The well-institutionalised notion of audits put forth that information subjected to independent examination by third parties potentially contribute to better quality information for decision making (towards more sustainable companies?). The presence of different assurance providers offering a myriad of services in the name of “sustainability assurance” led to concerns about their quality and comparability and as a consequence a call for standards to regulate these services. This study analyses how standards by the accountancy profession interplay with hard law to regulate assurance engagements on sustainability reports in Sweden. Sustainability assurance engagements by the accountancy profession are performed according to RevR6, developed based on international standards representing the accountancy profession’s commercial logic and conceptual understanding of assurance. These engagements are however potentially “supervised” by The Supervisory Board of Accountants (RN) whose role could apply by default due to the arguable over-inclusive definition of “audit business” in the Auditors Act. As RevR6 only serve as “guidance material” to legal institutions, these engagements are supervised according to the legal audit concept and the auditors’ role as professional trustees. The fragmentation of regulatory systems, within which sustainability assurance engagements operate leads to legal uncertainty and systemic challenges. It is crucial for legal institutions to better deal with the lack of clarity through regulatory conversations or other means to better coordinate or steer the emergence of regulatory initiatives by private organisations in these new areas of “audit like” services as it clarifies the role assurance services can play in the drive towards sustainable companies.},
  author       = {Sonnerfeldt, Amanda},
  keyword      = {sustainability,assurance,standards,sustainable companies},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Regulating third party assurance engagements on sustainability reports in Sweden – issues and challenges},
  year         = {2013},
}