‘Enron raises few issues in UK’

Presidents from the ICAEW, CIMA and ACCA were due to appear before the Treasury committee on Wednesday where they were hoping to ward off what they view as knee-jerk reactions to the involvement of Andersen auditors in the Enron disaster.

The UK’s main accountancy bodies plan to underline the differences between US and UK financial reporting models at what will be the first in a series of hearings exploring the regulatory implications of Enron.

Richard Mallet, director of technical development at CIMA, who is scheduled to appear before the select committee, told Accountancy Age that the Financial Services Authority would do well to write to directors reiterating their responsibilities.

It was a call echoed by other bodies. Both the ICAEW and ACCA were seeking to remind the committee of the responsibilities of other professions, such as analysts and credit rating agencies, in improving financial disclosure and governance. How the government intends to use the evidence it gathers remains unclear. Experts have urged against more regulation which they claim will only hamper business growth.

A possibility for the government would be to include recommendations in its modernisation of company law currently moving sluggishly through parliament’s corridors. However, Mallet said: ‘We would not suggest best practices recommendation be included in the company law review.’

In its written submission to the hearing, the ICAEW wrote: ‘We strongly urge the government not to be diverted from implementing the proposals for company law reform which include important recommendations on matters such as corporate governance.’

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