Fraser I, Pierpoint J, Collins B & Henry W (2010) Meeting the needs?: User views on external assurance and management commentary. Edinburgh: ICAS. http://icas.org.uk/fraser-users/
The recent financial crisis has again brought to the fore questions surrounding both the scope and quality of the external audit. In conjunction with this, narrative reporting or management commentary continues to grow in importance in the annual reports of companies - should this information be audited? This project investigates views on the value and importance of management commentary and whether there is a demand for external assurance on management commentary by corporate report users. Whilst asking users about these issues attention also naturally turns to more general views on the scope and value of the current statutory audit, looking particularly at the level of confidence in the present external audit process, the perceived usefulness of current external audit reports and views as to how the usefulness of audit reports might be enhanced. These more general findings are therefore also reported in this study. This study is based on a questionnaire survey to professional and private investors, finance professionals and other users. This was supplemented by 26 interviews to explore the issues in greater depth.