Board to go ahead with IPR.

Small businesses will be offered a lighter-touch after the Auditing Practices Board this week confirmed it is to push ahead with offering the independent professional review following crucial tests.

Research published this week has revealed the IPR could provide significant cost savings of up to 61% for some companies. However, concerns remain over the level of assurance the IPR can provide.

IPR was proposed by the government to ease the regulatory burden for companies with turnovers of between #1m and #4.8m.

A rise in the current audit limit to #4.8m is expected to be announced by the government by the end of this month, and could come as part of the pre-Budget report on 27 November.

Government has yet to endorse the IPR but the APB gave assurances that a lighter-touch audit would be available nevertheless.

Ian Plaistowe, chairman of the APB, said: ‘The new APB will have to look at the IPR if the government doesn’t mandate it. You can’t ignore the cost savings. It won’t take too much to offer it as a product.’

Field trials of IPR with 20 firms tested whether it was cost-efficient, its effectiveness at identifying financial errors and whether directors and accountants understand the level of assurance it offers.

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