The effect of CSRD on the role of an SME auditor: an in-depth research

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This research provides relevant insights to the literature and the practice into the relationship between CSRD and the SME auditor. Despite CSRD is going to affect almost every SME auditor, relatively little research has been done on this subject. Two aspects are investigated: sustainability services and assurance. By conducting qualitative research, the information was gathered through document analysis, three observations and ten semi-structured interviews. Thereby, the interpretivist research paradigm is adopted. It can be concluded that CSRD offers opportunities for the relevance of the SME auditing profession. The results of this research revealed that SME auditors are suitable to provide sustainability services and assurance related to CSRD. Due to CSRD, an SME auditor will become much more involved in a company’s strategy than before, both on the financial and non-financial aspects. The role of an SME auditor as an assurance provider stays the same. However, to provide sustainability services and assurance, a lot of additional training and upscaling capacity is needed. It is difficult to extract this from the existing group of SME auditors. SME auditors will have to combine their forces and will have to interact more with other specialists and third parties, making an auditor’s team more multidisciplinary. Keywords Sustainability – ESG – Sustainability services – Sustainability assurance – CSRD – SME auditor – Relationship CSRD-SME auditor
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen