FDs back longer jail terms for liars

More than one in three UK finance directors feel two years in prison is inadequate punishment for company directors who lie to auditors.

Following the unveiling of the white paper Modernising Company Law, 38% of UK FDs felt a tougher line should be taken. The white paper announced that directors could face two years in jail if they fail to provide auditors with ‘honest information’ about a company’s accounts.

However, according to the latest Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question directors should be ‘hung high’ or ‘locked up and the key thrown away!’

Derek Williams, Deith Cisson FD said: ‘If directors are going to deceive auditors and the public then five to seven years is about right.’

Quoting the volatility of the equity markets, one respondent blamed poor investor confidence on this ‘unacceptable behaviour’ and said that 25 years would be a more appropriate term. Another felt that ‘for the hundreds of pensioners who see their retirement funds diminish due to mis-management, those responsible should take full ownership of their decisions’.

Contrary to the hardliners, 49% of FDs felt the proposed term was sufficient. One said: ‘prison is sufficient for most’ although another suggested that ‘being struck off for 10 years as a director was perhaps sufficient’.

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