Baroness Hogg, speaking in the wake of accounting scandals such as Enron, and the current WorldCom debacle, said businesses were seeking ‘independent’ consultants and predicted companies would move away from professional service firms attempting to be all things to all clients.
She said: ‘What people want is independent consultants to operate in various areas of work not one stop shops.’
And she warned that businesses would have to toughen up on the issue of using audit firms for other services such as consultancy to maintain independence and avoid conflicts of interest.
‘There are certain types of consultancy work which are a “just say no” situation. There’s a lot you can do to toughen up there.’
Baroness Hogg was speaking at the Finance Directors Forum aboard the cruise ship Arcadia to a packed hall of FDs from all sectors of business.
She also told the audience there was no better time for an FD to become a non-executive director.
‘It’s the right time to look for a non-executive directors position. Boards want to improve their financial power,’ she said.