PracticeAuditJoint audits on the agenda

Joint audits on the agenda

Compulsory joint audits by rival firms have been considered by the government's review of audit as a way of avoiding an audit monopoly following the demise of Andersen, Accountancy Age has learned.

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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