Finance directors have backed the government in opposing audit firms floating on the stock market.
The trade department said last week it supported restrictive US listing rules. The decision is a particular blow to KPMG which has considered partially floating its management consultancy.
In this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel The Big Question, 50% of FDs supported the restriction, saying audit firms would lose their commercial independence if they floated. Only 38% said accountancy firms should be allowed to offer shares.
Robert Dearing of Twickenham Plating Group stressed the accountability of partnerships. ‘There are too many conflicts of interest arising from listing. Partnerships are still the best way of ensuring responsibility,’ he said. Martin Orchard of Cadogan Travel added: ‘The inside information firms could access justifies the decision.’
But Melvin Ellis of clothing manufacturer H Booth & Sons said: ‘Auditors are professional enough for it not to be an issue.’
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