Peter Wyman’s comments, made in the opening speech at the ICAEW annual conference on Tuesday, comes just days after reports surfaced that Gordon Brown had ordered the acceleration of a review into auditing rules. It is also believed the chancellor favours a strict rotation of audit firms every seven years.
The joint review of auditing currently run between the Treasury and the Department of Trade has also been extended to include issues raised by WorldCom.
Wyman’s speech to members this week was bullish about the current state of UK accountancy, but made it plain that the institute was willing to consider every possibility, if necessary, for reforms to auditing.
The institute president has already given the go ahead to the introduction of a two-year cooling off period for audit partners joining their clients, and a tightening of the rules regarding audit partner rotation.
‘In auditing we are looking at every suggestion which has been put forward to see if there is evidence to show that the suggested reviews would improve audit quality,’ he said.
However, there is a chance that whatever the institute decides to do could become redundant if ministers decide legislation is needed to settle growing public concerns over audit work following the Enron, WorldCom and Xerox scandals. Change could also be initiated by the Financial Services Authority which is currently undertaking a review of its listing rules.
But Wyman, emphatically singing the praises of UK boardrooms, corporate governance, auditing and accounting, told delegates at the conference: ‘There is no systemic failure in the UK; indeed in this country we should be immensely proud of what we have done to date.’