But an attempt by a small practitioners’ spokesman, to introduce a further amendment to the Institute’s Company Law Review submission on shortening accounts filing for small business, was narrowly defeated.
The Institute will now support the move to shorten company filing times to seven months when its working party submits its report.
The IPR was slammed as ‘conceptually flawed’ and ‘confusing to the British public’ by council member Stella Fearnley and seconded by Baroness Noakes.
Fearnley said: ‘I want to propose that the council withdraw all support for the IPR today. It doesn’t offer any assurance. I think this is really scary.’
The IPR was first mooted by the Company Law Review panel as a light weight assurance for those companies now excluded from the annual statutory audit.
Exemption to the annual statutory audit was granted last year for companies with a turnover of or less than Pounds 1m. The exemption threshold is expected to be raised once again this year to Pounds 4.8m – the European limit.
Baroness Noakes said: ‘I stand fully behind Stella and her comments. I was particularly surprised to see it was the APB doing the field tests. This already brings confusion. This will damage us as an Institute.’
Criticism of the composition of the Institute’s working party and a lack of consultation on matters relating to the Company Law Review was plentiful.
John Malthouse, chairman of the Institute’s practitioner panel, said: ‘I’m very disappointed to see that the composition of the task force is [made up of] very large organisations and only two out of nine are from small companies. Big firms are not qualified to respond on small companies’ filing deadlines.
But, Andy Simmonds, council member and technical partner at Deloitte & Touche, countered opposition to shortening filing deadlines.
‘There is a degree of incredulity that it takes 10 months to do this with the technology now available,’ said Simmonds.
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