Mike Rake, chairman of KPMG International, reserved special criticism for the European Commission and its threat to force US companies to report in multiple languages.
Speaking at the ACCA’s centenary seminar Rake said such moves ‘would not help business efficiency’.
He went on to say there was no reason why convergence between US GAAP and international accounting standards could not produce a global set of standards.
However, Rake used his speech to call for changes to the way auditors report their finding.
‘Audit reports and financial statements have become close to incomprehensible to anyone except the experts, and need to be simplified in terms of presenting company results,’ he said.
He said auditors should consider handing over more information when they resign from an audit, and be more open about their risk arrangements and client acceptance procedures.
Published audit reports remain formulaic and elusive for those not versed in accounting terminology, and as a result give little away for investors. Rake’s comments will play well with those who have called for more transparency and openness from auditors.
Rake also criticised the drive to quarterly reporting. He said it pushed companies to constantly post increased profits and that analysts needed to be more understanding of longer-term performance.
He closed his speech by calling on CEOs to have the courage and give real meaning to corporate social responsibility. Accounting scandals, he insisted, came about because of a failure in corporate culture, not just internal contols.
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