Practice body rails against POB's call for more regulation

by Kevin Reed

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15 Sep 2010

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Dame Barbara Mills, POB chairman

Accountancy's regulator has been criticised by small practice representatives for calling for an increase in regulation.

Peter Mitchell, chairman of the Society of Professional Accountants, said it was "bizarre" that the Professional Oversight Board wants to increase regulation around service lines not recognised in statute, and failing to deal with accountants operating outside membership bodies.

POB issued eight recommendations in May from Dame Barbara Mills' (pictured) report, including a call for more tailored visits to match practices' risk profile, and more checks around practices' complaint procedures.

"It seems to us bizarre that you should recommend an increased burden of regulation in areas which, unlike audit and investment business, according to statute are “unregulated” amongst the membership of bodies which do seek to ensure compliance with technical and ethical standards," wrote Mitchell.

"Yet you do not recommend any changes to the regime applying to accountants who are not members of these bodies, have no such commitment, and do not have to bear the cost of these regulatory mechanisms."

Mitchell also called into question POB's lack of SME board experience.

"Regrettably, we are unable to identify amongst your board those members who may represent, or have extensive experience of working with, the SME sector of our profession and shall be grateful if you will confirm who these may be, or how input from this sector has been obtained in your consultations."

Some of the technical errors discovered in POB's review could be down to the numerous and frequent changes to the "voluminous" Companies Act, Mitchell added.

Further reading:

Institutes urged to step up their monitoring game

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