Arnold Schilder will take the helm of
the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) on
1 January 2009 – a time when the board will begin a hiatus on
updating and issuing standards and focus on international
Arnold Schilder, International Auditing and Assurance Standards BoardThe next IAASB chair has
almost 40 years of experience in the professional and financial
services industries. He recently celebrated his ten-year
anniversary at De Nederlandsche Bank, the Dutch central bank, and
prior to that was a senior international audit partner at the Dutch
member firm of Coopers & Lybrand – leaving the day the
international network merged with Price Waterhouse.

Other roles featured on Schilder’s
curriculum vitae include past-president of Dutch institute
Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut van Register Accountants (Royal
NIVRA) and member of the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB),
which oversees the IAASB.

The IAASB is due to complete a five-year
project on improving the clarity of ISA in September and Schilder
said following the completion of the project, the board intends to
release no new standards for two years to give the profession time
to adapt to recent changes.

Going global

The board’s next priority will be to
investigate ways to stimulate the global implementation of the
auditing standards. “Also further political endorsement, for
example the European Union, and we need to liaise with the [US
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board – PCAOB] on how we can
see further convergence between US GAAS and these international
standards,” Schilder added.

Last December, Europe’s internal market
commissioner Charlie McCreevy announced it was too early to decide
whether ISA should be applied in the EU.

While the decision was not well received
by firms who spoke to The Accountant at the time, Schilder
said he was not disappointed by the cool reception because he
understood how the processes work.

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“I know there is a positive attitude
towards this work, which has been evidenced by the fact that the
European Commission now has two members on the Public Interest
Oversight Board… that is a clear example of the positive interest
of the commission,” Schilder explained.

The EU moved quickly to adopt IFRS and
Schilder conceded that subsequent challenges, such as the carve out
in IAS 39, alerted the commission to the importance of due
processes and ensuring all stakeholders’ comments are taken into

“I certainly see that reflected in how
[the EC is looking at] the due process surrounding the auditing
standards, which is fair and completely understandable,” he

While focusing on the global spread of the
standards, Schilder said there may also be several new projects on
the cards.

“There might be further study on the
quality of the auditor’s report, whether that still fits the
purpose these days,” he said. “Sustainability reporting is another
topic that is quite interesting, as is the needs of SMEs and how
they can best be serviced.

“So there are several very interesting
topics that will appear on our future agenda.”

Schilder said he also foresees further
positive moves towards the convergence of ISA and US GAAS.