‘Culture is reflected in everything’

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The quality-oriented culture working group is today publishing its work plan in connection with the audit change agenda. The goal is to tackle pain points in a targeted manner, for example by working with “building blocks” that together raise the culture in the sector to a higher level.

The steering group for public interest has put the theme of culture on the agenda for 2021-2023 with the aim of anchoring a quality-oriented culture in the auditor sector in the long term. This theme is being elaborated by the Quality-Oriented Culture Working Group, a collaboration between the NBA, the SRA, audit organizations and experts from outside the sector. The working group publishes today its work plan for the coming period.

Culture has always been an important and complex subject for the sector. When the sector published the report ‘In the public interest’ in 2014, culture was one of the main themes. Changes in the work culture should, among other things, ensure that the quality of controls increased. In the years that followed, the subject proved challenging, partly because it is difficult to make good definitions and carry out objective measurements. Despite these challenges, good progress was made, but the efforts of the Accountancy Monitoring Committee (MCA) and the Future Accountancy Sector Committee (CTA) have led the sector to “sharpen a keener sense of quality”, the NBA reports on its website.

Roland Ogink from the SRA is the sponsor of the working group Quality-oriented culture on behalf of the Steering Group for Public Interest and explains that the goal was initially to arrive at a definition of quality-oriented culture, but it gradually turned out that this was not necessarily the right way . “A definition turned out to be too restrictive. As a working group, we decided that it would be better to work with so-called building blocks. It prevents you from doing your very best to arrive at one cryptic sentence that you cannot handle in practice . To really deepen your knowledge, it is better to work with a number of elements that together contribute to the right culture.”

Building blocks

The working group has already identified three basic building blocks: Behavior and mindset, symbols and decisions, and structures and processes. Ogink: “These building blocks intervene at different levels; on the persons themselves, the greater whole of the organization and society, and the psychological processes that underlie everything. I think the latter is very important to understand the two other levels: this working group relies heavily on psychological insights from, among other things, outside the sector. That view from the outside is essential.”

Ogink hopes that there will be a lot of feedback from the sector. “The building blocks are dynamic. We see quality-oriented culture as an iterative process in which we make progress, among other things through feedback from practice. We have been working on this topic as an industry since 2014, and the spade is getting deeper. This That process the working group must anchor and accelerate more.”

More uniform image

This also removes the non-binding nature of the material questions. Ogink: “Until now, culture surveys have been prescribed with freedom in the way they are carried out. We still want to arrive at some form of commitment with questions that are included annually in the annual culture survey that each office must carry out. This will create comparability between offices, a There are currently many culture measurements, including from the oobs, AFM, Young Profs, SRA Kulturscanning, Outcomes of Work Press Inspectorate SZS, etc. There is no common picture. We want to change that. and protect it for the future; datasets from all offices that provide a more consistent picture of where we stand and what else we can do.”

Ogink also points out that the Quality-Oriented Culture Working Group is also fed by all other working groups. “Culture is actually reflected in everything. Suppose the root cause analysis shows that there are certain influences from the culture of the Continuity Working Group, then it can in turn affect our building blocks. We are also looking for a connection with the Faculty of Ethics, Culture & Behavior of the NBA, because we would like to move forward faster, especially through the connection.”

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