FDs won’t fork out more

UK finance directors have said an emphatic ‘no’ to calls that they should pay more to ensure audits maintain the integrity of company accounts.

Despite the recent catalogue of scandals involving corporate giants Enron, WorldCom and Xerox, a staggering 70% of FDs polled in this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Personnel’s Big Question said they would not give more to guarantee the integrity of their financial statements.

Reacting strongly to the suggestion that he should pay more, one FD said: ‘They should be shot if they are not doing what they are paid to do.’

Letraset FD Nigel Gothard suggested one should ‘expect the auditors to charge a fair fee for doing a good and proper job’. But he said he would not pay more. Another FD commented: ‘From what I have seen, audits are a complete waste of time.’

Holiday Places FD Bob Stevens said: ‘The issue is about the quality of the work and the integrity, not paying more to get this.’

Of the 150 respondents only 19% said they would pay for more peace of mind. One FD said: ‘Integrity is most important with regards to accounts. If it ensured this, we would pay more.’ Another added: ‘For what we pay for it should be an honest job.’

Although one FD did not believe this to be the issue he said: ‘Given the Enron scandal it suggests those companies charging the most for an audit are not necessarily providing the best services. It is quality, integrity and not image that counts.’

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