Audit – Laura Ashley becomes next victim of PwC

PricewaterhouseCoopers has resigned its second audit client in less than a month, prompting the firm to acknowledge it is reviewing its client base.

Troubled retailer Laura Ashley became the most recent victim of the overhaul last week when PwC abruptly resigned after a ten-year relationship.

It comes less than a month after the firm ended its long-term audit of Asian-owned Meghraj bank over undisclosed loans and difficulties in auditing offshore connections. This week, KPMG was appointed independent reporting accountant to the bank, which will be wound up by the end of the year.

The bank vigorously denied wrongdoing and said it was disappointed in PwC for what it claimed was an inability to recognise improvements made in previous years.

A PwC insider said: ‘Resigning a client is not common but is increasing as firms look at their client list and the situation with each client.’

Laura Ashley said PwC’s resignation was not related to the fashion retailer’s recent financial turmoil. ‘PwC didn’t stand down after recent events,’ said a spokesman. ‘It was a mutual decision.’

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