Confusion revealed over disciplinary procedures

director, Professional Oversight Board

Paul George

There is confusion between the profession’s disciplinary body and the
accounting institutes over how to start prosecutions of wayward qualified

In a report released today the Professional Oversight Board
it lays out recommendations to clarify issues and end disagreement over the
process for bringing rule breaking accountants to book.

The two routes are either initiation by the Accountancy and Actuarial
Discipline Board
or referral from an institute.

In practice POB says the two methods have been mixed up and should be

The comments come in
annual report to government

Paul George, Director of the Oversight Board, said: ‘The primary purpose is
to report on our oversight of audit regulation carried out by the professional
accountancy bodies that we recognise for this purpose. We focused in 2007/08 on
key areas of risk at each body and on those regulatory systems where there had
been significant recent change.

‘Overall we conclude that the recognised bodies take their responsibilities
extremely seriously and that much regulatory practice is of a high standard.
However, the detailed comments in the report highlight those aspects of
regulatory activity that are less strong or where there is room for

Among the other observations are:

Audits have been signed off by people who are not entitled to. POB said
institutes do not make it sufficiently clear to members who can sign off an

Accountants are qualifying but it remains unclear how they gained the
necessary practical experience to qualify. POB says institutes need more robust
procedures for reviewing records of experience.

There is also concern in the report that small firms are finding it difficult
to acquire enough work to provide staff with the right experience and that the
decline in audit staff is making succession more difficult.

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