The Role and Responsibility of Auditors in Reporting Modern Slavery

Zhong, Caichan (2019) The Role and Responsibility of Auditors in Reporting Modern Slavery. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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Modern slavery refers to the institutional slavery that exists in current society. Modern slavery can harm people of any age, gender, and race. It widely exists around the world and modern slavery actions happen every day. But, there are also lots of people that work hard to fight against modern slavery. Modern slavery is not only a human rights problem but also a business problem. Eradicating modern slavery is the responsibility of the whole society. This dissertation is attempting to bridge some of the gaps that there is little known on how Auditors can play a role now and future, and their potential to take responsibility in tackling modern slavery. This dissertation aims to analyze this question from two aspects.

(1) What are the current requirements for auditors involved in the business in reporting modern slavery with specific reference made to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in the UK?

(2) How much awareness and potential for responsibility do future auditors and business professionals (current Master’s level business students) have for playing a part in tackling modern slavery?

In the UK, there is a leading law named Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA) which requires obligated companies to disclose a ‘slavery and human trafficking statement’ each financial year to disclosure the steps they have taken in tackling modern slavery.

For the first aspect, there is content analysis method used to analyze the modern slavery statement of top 30 companies of the UK in the FTSE index, according to verify the quality of companies’ MS statement to assess whether current auditors have played a good role and taken responsibility in assisting companies to report modern slavery. The MSA in the UK requires companies to disclosure six parts information and meet three minimum requirements, the research of this dissertation has found that even all the companies have disclosed the MS statement and met three minimum requirements, but many of their MS statement still lack details and transparency.

For the second aspect, a questionnaire analysis method is used to establish the level of future Auditors’ and business professionals’ awareness and attitudes on modern slavery. The replies of the research showed that most of the students have the interest and willingness to play a role and take responsibility in tackling modern slavery, but most of them lack essential knowledge and basic education of modern slavery, which heavily influenced their ability to identify and tackle modern slavery. There is a need to improve MS education at tertiary level. An important way forward as with many things is to educate our future business professionals on such global issues making them better placed to join the fight against modern slavery.

Overall, this dissertation has found two ways for current and future auditors to play a role and take responsibility in reporting modern slavery.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: Zhong, Caichan
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2022 12:21
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 12:21

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