An insider said: ‘It’s an issue coming out of the competition concerns. With just a Big Four, it will be difficult in terms of audit rotation.’
Accountants are split on the subject. Emile Woolf, partner at Kingston Smith and ICAEW litigation expert, said it would ‘create more competition for all sizes of firms’.
But Rodger Hughes, assurance partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, disagreed: ‘You have to split the work so no-one gets full overview and it’s very expensive,’ he said.
In France joint audits are already compulsory and have seen a renaissance in support since Enron.
Patrick de Cambourg, president of Mazars which competes head to head with the Big Four in France, is almost evangelistic about the model.
‘It creates an environment of self-control between the two auditors,’ he said, adding that joint auditors reached decisions together that could not be concluded alone.
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Dr Richard Willis provides a several thousand-year history lesson of the profession, from origin to modern-day