Preparations for a substantial change to
Sweden’s accounting landscape in 2010 have dominated the past 12
months for local professional services body FAR SRS.

FAR SRS secretary general Dan Brännström told
The Accountant that Sweden’s government intends to remove
mandatory audit for SMEs and apply the highest audit threshold
allowed by EU law.

The threshold will be net sales of SEK83
million ($13.2 million), total assets of SEK41.5 million and 50

Companies that exceed one of the thresholds
will be exempt from statutory audit. If two or more are exceeded
they must still be audited.

The exemptions are not likely to become
effective until 1 July 2010 as the government is yet to finalise
its position.

Preparations FAR SRS has made for the changes
include developing a new standard for compilation services, as an
alternative to audit, and developing an auditor’s toolkit
highlighting new services for firms to focus on.

FAS SRS also broadened its membership
categories, which Brännström said strengthened the institute and
enabled it to develop these new services.

“We used to be a rather traditional institute
for auditors, but we now welcome all professionals within the
accounting business including tax consultants, accounting
consultants and business advisers,” Brännström said.

“I do not think it would have been possible to
[develop the new compilation standard] if we didn’t have both
auditors and accounting consultants within the institute.”

The relevance of the auditor’s report is also
the subject of debate in Sweden at present, Brännström said.

The International Organization of Securities
Commission’s technical committee recently issued a consultation
paper regarding auditor’s communication, which Brännström said the
institute will respond to.

“It is important the word from an auditor is
concluded in a clear and relevant way for the stakeholders so I
think this consultation paper is very important for the future
relevance of audit,” he said.

“It is important for the audit business to
remain relevant and if we want to remain relevant then the
stakeholders must feel that they get value from the report.”