VALERIY BONDAR - Professor, Doctor of Economics, President of the Union of Auditors of Ukraine, Member of the AChU Board, Certified Auditor, Certified Forensic Economic Expert, Intellectual Property Expert, Risk Expert, world-renowned appraiser WAVO-WRV, managing partner of the network international auditing company HLB UKRAINE LLC. Member of the Civil Council at the State Tax Service in Kyiv.
Experience in the fields of accounting and auditing - 42 years, including experience of pedagogical work in higher educational and scientific institutions - more than 14 years.
On the 30th anniversary of the Union of Auditors of Ukraine, what are the current challenges and challenges for the community?
The Union of Auditors of Ukraine is an all-Ukrainian professional public organization that unites certified auditors of Ukraine. The Union of Auditors of Ukraine, which has been operating since 1992, now has over 1,000 members and branches in each of the country's regional centers.
The basis for the creation of the Union of Auditors of Ukraine dates back to the 1990s, when the first audit firms began to be established in Ukraine, which initiated the formation of the Union of Auditors of Ukraine. To this end, work was carried out to establish firms related to the provision of accounting and taxation services. In total, there were about 50 of them in Ukraine. It was the representatives of these companies who held the constituent congress of the Union of Auditors of Ukraine on February 14, 1992.
During the year, the Union of Auditors of Ukraine worked fruitfully under the leadership of VV Golovach on the draft law of Ukraine "On Auditing", which was adopted on April 22, 1993, and which gave impetus to the influx of intellectuals into the audit movement of scientists, lawyers, economists, and professional accountants. S. Stolyarova, O. Redko, I. Pylypenko, N. Gaevska, O. Kuzhel, Y. Futoryanska, E. Synyavsky, I. Kashtanova, V. Taras and others made a significant contribution to the development of Union of Auditors of Ukraine.
For the further development of auditing in Ukraine, the Union of Auditors of Ukraine provided the following: the preparation of the regulatory framework for the certification of auditors, the development and implementation of auditing standards, and the continuous improvement of professional knowledge of auditors. The Union of Auditors of Ukraine pays special attention to ensuring the independence of auditors, compliance with auditors' norms and standards of auditing and the requirements of the Code of Ethics for Auditors, as well as the quality of audit services.
The mission of the Union is to serve society by promoting the development and dissemination of the profession of independent auditors, thus increasing the importance of the auditing profession in Ukraine to meet the economic interests of society. The Union supports the view that the auditing profession is very important for the development of a stable and strong economy in Ukraine.
In addition, the audit is one of the tools that help to develop international relations as it provides confidence in verified financial information for its users at various levels (international, government, government, and enterprise).
The current challenge for the audit industry is the difficulties caused by the global crisis and the general state of the Ukrainian economy in the context of the war and the COVID-19 pandemic, when there are significant fluctuations in exchange rates and disruptions in supplies of goods and energy resources.
Other problems are represented by specific industry difficulties. Among them, it is expedient to highlight the differences in the standards of work of Ukrainian and international companies, the lack of an audit risk insurance system, as well as the insufficient level of training of Ukrainian accountants and auditors. These factors have a negative effect on the profession's reputation and the business environment's level of confidence in the domestic audit market.
I would like to note that despite many years of independent audit practice and the active introduction of foreign experience, there are no textbooks or manuals in Ukraine that would correspond to the current level of national auditing practice. This risks turning future professional auditors hostage to superficial, insufficient, and poor quality knowledge, which is another challenge for the audit community.
What do you like most about being an auditor?
An auditor is a profession of public importance. Audit activities are dynamic and diverse. This makes it attractive. You never know what additional profession, what new skills will need to be mastered during the next test. I also consider the advantages of auditing to be familiar with various types of business, a sense of the importance of the profession, pride in one's own knowledge and achievements, and, of course, continuous improvement of professional skills and knowledge.
That is, choosing an auditing profession, a person must realize that this profession requires great concentration of mind, continuous improvement and professional development. You need to constantly study, take professional tests, take exams, and even more independently by studying a large amount of professional literature until the last day of your career. Not all people may like it.
How has the profession transformed over the years?
The world around us is changing rapidly, and the pace of such changes is calculated not in years but in months. The digitalization of the economy, the diversity of cryptocurrencies, the displacement of human labor by programs and robots - these are the main factors that determine the general trends of business and society.
Auditing cannot stay away from these processes, so, given all the changes, it remains either to adapt to new business realities, or to close in their old formats and eventually disappear.
It is also not possible to consider accounting separately from the audit. They are interconnected. The product of accounting is financial reporting. The product of the audit is the auditor's opinion on such financial statements. That is, the demand for financial statements corresponds directly to the demand for audit services. Therefore, the transformation and future of auditing depend on the development and increase in demand for financial reporting.
However, I note that there are still many problems in the field of Ukrainian audit, such as:
Different quality of audit services provided by audit entities in our market, especially during the mandatory audits of financial statements, due to imperfections or lack of a number of audit firms' common methodology, internal quality control system, and lack of methodological developments in audit control, technology , a single soft-program to perform the audit task, practical experience, and the necessary quality resources to conduct the audit task efficiently and on time;
Creating a fair price for audit services: - it is extremely important to correctly assess the resources and time to ensure a quality audit in compliance with all necessary legal requirements and international auditing standards. This assessment of time directly affects the formation of the price of audit services, which is especially important for audits of enterprises of public importance. There are cases when the price differs by up to 10 times, because it is based on tenders. And auditing and bidding are unrelated, because bidding will never lead to objectivity in determining the cost of audit services. It should also be borne in mind that the process of training qualified specialists is quite expensive, because we spend an average of 1,600 hours (about 3 years) and more than 60,000 UAH per year on training programs, not including professional qualifications such as ACCA, certification auditors of Ukraine, etc. I believe that the issue of fair price formation significantly affects the quality and credibility of the product itself, which the company receives from the audit, and the ability of users of financial statements to draw correct conclusions.
Different levels of compliance with legal requirements and international auditing standards regarding the independence and provision of non-audit services by clients.
I hope that such actions of regulators as quality control, open discussions on problematic issues and development of guidelines, inspections and disciplinary proceedings, quality certification of auditors, will be a driving force and motivator for change and improvement in audit quality in Ukraine, because the foundation for future change has already been laid. In addition, new international quality management standards will come into force in 2022, which should raise the bar on the quality management of audit firms. I hope this will also be an additional impetus for audit firms in our country to listen, review, and improve their quality control systems.
Finally, I note that the only real force that can and should influence the development of the profession in this country are the auditors and accountants themselves. The development and future of this profession will depend on their activity and ability to clearly communicate their views to regulators. It is important to create a strong professional movement that will be the main controller and driver of this process.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the entire audit community on the 30th anniversary of the Union of Auditors of Ukraine. Our joint efforts have led to the creation of an independent financial control system in the country, which includes an audit and protection of shareholders' rights. Each of us makes an invaluable contribution every day to strengthening the credibility of the audit profession.
You are all dedicated to our cause, and for me you are reliable partners and just good friends.
Let all the tasks set before you be productive, solve them with ease. Overcome random obstacles effortlessly. Purposefully move towards success!
Congratulations on the holiday! I wish you happiness, health, and love, as well as positive cash flow, successful projects, inexhaustible optimism, peace, and goodness!