FDs call for firms to be audited yearly.

More than four out of five finance directors believe that accountancy firms should publish audited annual results.

The latest Accountancy Age/Reed Big Question has highlighted the demand for transparency by revealing that 82% of more than 200 FDs surveyed think that accountants should definitely or probably publish audited results.

‘Because accountancy firms are driving reporting standards, and to promote openness and user friendly reports, they should publish their own audited results,’ said Andrew Emmens, FD of Asphalt Systems International.

Accountancy firms, few of which publish audited results, are coming under increasing pressure over openness.

The Office of Fair Trading is to examine the issue as part of an investigation into possible anti-competitive practices in the profession. In the US, Big Five firms have agreed to participate in a voluntary review program with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to list past violations of independence regulations.

Mark Wellby, finance director of The British Academy, said that accountancy firms should publish audited annual results ‘to achieve a more transparent environment, to set a good example, and because there are no good arguments for not doing so’.

But leading firms appeared unconcerned by the calls. Deloitte & Touche, which does not publish audited results, said: ‘We are a private partnership and wish to continue being so and there is no immediate intention of publishing annual accounts.’

PricewaterhouseCoopers, which publishes global annual results but does not break them down by country, refused to comment on the issue.

John Wosner, chairman of Pannell Kerr Forster, one of the few firms that do publish results, said: ‘Where we go for tenders and people want to know a bit more about us, the annual report gets a lot of good comments.’

But the Limited Liability Partnerships Bill, expected to be up and running by 2001, will force firms taking advantage of the new structure to publish audited results.

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