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
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.