MPs to question auditors over banking crisis

The Commons Treasury Committee is to question auditors about their role in
the banking crisis and whether reform of the auditing industry is needed.

The influential committee will call for evidence on ‘the role of auditors in
the banking crisis and whether any reform to that role is desirable’ by January
6 as part of its ongoing inquiry.

MPs have already sought and been sent evidence on the role of accounting
standards as part of their investigation into how to secure financial stability,
protect the taxpayer, customers and shareholder interests.

The announcement of plans to quiz auditors is likely to unsettle the Big Four
firms, which successfully lobbied politicians against heavy-handed regulation
earlier this decade after corporate scandals such as Enron damaged the
profession’s reputation.

Earlier this month, Peter Wyman, head of professional affairs at
PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that all parts of the financial crisis, including
auditing, should be ‘examined’ at a later date to help judge whether
improvements could be made, such as expanding the scope of the auditors’ role.

But he argued against a review of the audit profession and urged politicians
not to ‘shoot the messenger’.

Related reading

aidan-brennan kpmg