Big Five hopes of establishing multidisciplinary partnerships were dealt a heavy blow this week after a majority of finance directors said they opposed firms that combined lawyers and accountants, writes Nick Huber.
The Law Society is expected to lift its ban on multi-disciplinary practices in the summer, a move that will usher in a new regime for professional services firms.
But in this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel The Big Question, only 33% of FDs of small and medium-sized businesses said that they would hire a lawyer from the same firm that does their audit.
Of the 51% who opposed mixed practices, most believed that they would compromise an auditor’s duty to offer independent advice.
‘The conflict of interest is potentially very high,’ said Jean Hill of G&A Computer Services.
Another respondent, who asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘I might want to confide my most business secrets to my lawyer. I wouldn’t let my auditor in on the act until I had covered my bases.’
But 33% of finance directors welcomed the prospect. Jan O’Connor of machine distributor Contax said: ‘The idea of a one-stop shop will be particularly beneficial to SMEs.’
The second largest improvement in ‘significant’ levels of financial distress since the EU Referendum was in professional services, found research from Begbies Traynor
Just one half of UK practices have implemented a pricing structure around auto enrolment implementation and advice - with many suffering increased costs
Deloitte's north-west Europe foray; BDO, Smith & Williamson investment paths; Shelley Stock Hutter; and Wilkins Kennedy discussed by editor Kevin Reed on our Friday Afternoon Live broadcast
Accountants should alter their perspective on auto-enrolment to maximise business opportunities, according to Eric Clapton.