Banks cut red tape on privacy for auditors

Auditors will have to provide a month’s notice when requesting bank
information, but will no longer need to provide ‘new authority’ every time they
do so, it emerged this week.

Previously, auditors were required to get permission from clients before
requesting information, adding an extra layer of bureaucracy.

But now the British Bankers’ Association and the ICAEW have agreed to revise
the Auditing Practices Board practice note 16, which governs the basis on which
banks should respond to auditor requests.

The move followed concerns from auditors revealed by Accountancy Age
in June that banks were failing to respond to requests for information quickly
and accurately enough. The problem at one stage threatened to force auditors to
qualify the accounts of their clients.

Before the agreement, auditors needed to request information from banks at
least 14 days in advance, but this will be extended to a month for ‘standard’
information and even longer for ‘non-standard’ information.

Auditors will also need to provide an account name and number when making
requests, but will no longer need new authority every time they confirm bank

Paul Chisnall, executive director of the BBA, said discussions with the ICAEW
had been ‘entirely amicable’.

‘None of this is rocket science,’ said Chisnall. ‘Members we have consulted
believe the changes identified will improve their ability to cope with the
demand and enable them to provide a better service.’

The draft revision is open for public consultation until 20 January 2006.

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