Company Management’s and Auditor’s Reporting on Going Concern: Discussion of the Current International Regulatory Framework

Jan Woudenberg, Lisette van der Hel - van Dijk, Robert Kamerling


In this study, we discuss if the current (international) regulatory framework regarding accounting and auditing provides an adequate basis for both company management and the auditor to report (accurately and informatively) on going concern.

Overall findings indicate that from a theoretical perspective the changes made in the design of the framework since the last global economic crisis contribute to more accurate and informative reporting on going concern. This starts with an increased focus on substantiated reporting on long-term value creation and continuity in the U.K. and Dutch corporate governance codes. Furthermore, the current Dutch and U.S. accounting standards increasingly pay attention to reporting on going concern. Also several changes in the Dutch, international and (partly) U.S. auditing standards could have a positive impact, such as the requirement to state the responsibilities of both company management and the auditor in each auditor’s report, and the introduction of key audit matters offering the possibility to report on going concern risks and the audit procedures performed.

There is, however, still room for improvement. It seems that various standard setters have determined their own route and pace, which may have kept them from implementing more progressive proposals such as a conclusion and a statement on going concern in each auditor’s report. As a result, the exception-based reporting model is still largely retained. Further progress can be made by implementing a so-called holistic approach to ensure that the responsibilities of company management and the auditor are aligned, and by striving for more international convergence.

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Copyright (c) 2019 Jan Woudenberg, Lisette van der Hel - van Dijk, Robert Kamerling

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International Journal of Accounting and Financial Reporting  ISSN 2162-3082

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