A primary aspect of CPA preparation is audit work, which encompasses the application of multiple accounting disciplines. Auditing entails skills for conducting impartial assessments. Most states require new CPAs to possess plenty of education and on-the-job training as auditors.
A period of audit experience is typically combined with CPA exam study. This makes for a busy time in the life of an aspiring CPA. However, it creates the foundation of critical thinking that is applied throughout an accounting career. Accountants are most commonly expected to utilize their assessment skills for delivering careful audit evaluations. A new study indicates a rising demand for scrutiny by accountants of non-financial facts.
According to the report by the International Federation of Accountants, investors are requesting greater disclosure of non-financial information about the companies they own. Some examples are details concerning a company’s environmental, social, and governance policies. These factors impact the long-term financial performance of an organization, which is obviously a vital investor concern. This means accountants should include understanding of these matters in their CPA exam preparation and audit training process.
To meet the investor demand, accountants are asked to apply their analytical ability to environmental, social, and governance data. This is accomplished by deploying the same standards applied toward CPA review courses and auditing of financial information.
The report delineates five recommendations for accountants to add environmental, social, and governance elements into their auditing process. The first step is establishing effective communication with investors to determine which environmental, social, and governance areas are most important to them. Next is improving disclosure quality in audit reports by conveying environmental, social, and governance factors.
Third is linking financial and non-financial environmental, social, and governance data into a sustainable framework. The next step is improving usefulness of environmental, social, and governance information by standardizing consistency and comparison metrics. The final step is collection of environmental, social, and governance information from various segments of an organization followed by aggregating the data to support future decision-making.
The idea behind assessment of environmental, social, and governance factors is that they influence future outcomes. Consequently, investors desire environmental, social, and governance features that create value and competitive advantages. Comprehending the monitoring and reporting of these matters it therefore an important addition to CPA exam review of financial subjects.
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