The length of audit reports has undergone some drastic changes ranging from a one-paragraph audit report some thirty years ago to about three pages. Three decades ago, typical statutory audit reports consisted of one paragraph which informed the reader whether the financial statements showed a true and fair view, with perhaps a second paragraph to offer an explanation if the report was modified in some way. However, for an accounting period beginning on or after 15th December 2016 a typical audit report even for a typical private Company runs to three closely-typed pages even without content specific for a particular client.
(i) Explain the reasons for the apparently inevitable lengthening of the audit report in recent decades.
(ii) With specific reference to the most recent changes, discuss the extent to which readers have benefited or otherwise as a result of the longer audit report format.