English ICA fines Coopers
Coopers & Lybrand has been hit with a £1,000 fine and reprimanded by the English ICA for giving a clean audit report to a leading industrial group when £7.5m of losses were wrongly placed on its profit-and-loss account.
The error meant the 1997 accounts of Stratagem Group plc showed profit before interest of over £4.7m, rather than a loss of more than £2.8m.
In a rare disciplinary action against a big firm, the institute found Coopers, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers, had signed off Stratagem’s accounts as giving a true and fair view and being properly prepared in accordance with the Companies Act ‘when this was not the case’.
The Financial Reporting Review Panel last year forced the company to move the ‘exceptional item’ losses above interest on the p&l in line with FRS3. Stratagem FD Sheridan Swallow said: ‘We believed at the time we were right.’