Danny McCance 28 Aug 2018 04:40pm

EY taps psychologists to improve audit quality

EY has been using behavioural psychologists to improve audit quality amid ongoing political and media scrutiny of the profession

The specialists coach staff in the behaviours needed for a quality audit by first studying, then trying to replicate, the actions of the firm’s best audit teams.

“Culture is an important component of delivering consistent high quality audits and we’ve been working with cognitive behavioural psychologists for over three years now to help replicate the behaviours of our highest performing audit teams,” said EY’s UK managing partner of assurance and UK head of audit Hywel Ball said.

“We’re now looking at how we can help our people to feel more fulfilled in their careers, reinforcing their contribution to the vital role that audit plays in society and the functioning of the capital markets,” he added.

In June the Financial Reporting Council criticised the Big Four, including EY, for dropping standards in audit quality.

 In the wake of the Carillion collapse in February, the Big Four were accused of “feasting” on the “carcass” of the former construction services firm – EY earned £18.3m from Carillion over the past decade.

In May, MPs called for the break up of the Big Four, recommending the government refer the statutory audit market to the Competition and Markets Authority.

Despite these ongoing issues for the profession, in April research found that EY had the most powerful brand, coming ahead of the likes of Costa, Premier Inn, Dove and Jaguar.