The intention is to improve the profession’s image by switching the funding of the existing regulatory structure from the six accountancy institutes to the FSA.
Representatives of the UK and Irish accountancy bodies – in the form of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies – are currently locked in talks with the FSA on future funding. Frustrated leaders of the profession see the move as a way to eradicate what they see as public misconceptions about the integrity of audit and accountancy.
Neil Lerner, head of risk management at KPMG and chairman of the CCAB Ethics committee, said: ‘The other perception change we would advocate is that [the Foundation] should be funded by someone other than the profession. The CCAB are in talks with the FSA about funding the Foundation.’
He said the FSA could begin paying within a year. A spokeswoman for the FSA confirmed the topic had been raised with the regulator.
Colin Reeves, head of the Foundation’s Review Board, revealed he was unaware of the talks but defended current arrangements, saying they ensured independence from the profession.
In a further twist to the Andersen saga the ICAEW has this week announced it will be proposing ‘no further investigation’ of the UK firm in connection with document shredding that took place in the London offices. The ICAEW indicated that it had received no evidence about the involvement of members in the shredding.
A statement from the institute said: ‘In the event, the jury in America is reported as stating that allegations of widespread document destruction were “largely superficial and largely circumstantial”. This accords with the information gained by the institute through its initial enquiries into the matter and therefore no further investigation is currently proposed.’
But industry observers immediately called the ICAEW’s decision a ‘whitewash’.
Andersen is set to disappear around the world as local offices forge deals to join other firms. In a move that both sides refuse to call either a merger or an acquisition, the survivors of Andersen in the UK are set to join Deloitte & Touche.
The firms hope the deal will be cleared by competition authorities in Europe by 1 July.