Exclusive: FDs call for firms to be audited annually

The latest Accountancy Age/Reed Big Question has highlighted the demand for transparency in the profession by revealing that 82% of more than 200 FDs think accountants should definitely or probably publish audited results.

‘Because accountancy firms are driving reporting standards, and to promote openness and user friendly reports, they should publish their own audited results,’ said Andrew Emmens, FD of Asphalt Systems International.

Accountancy firms, few of which publish audited annual results, are coming under increasing pressure over openness.

The UK’s Office of Fair Trading is to examine the issue as part of an investigation into possible anti-competitive practices in the profession. In the US, Big Five firms have agreed to participate in a voluntary review program with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to list past violations of independence regulations.

Mark Wellby, FD of The British Academy, said: ‘Accountancy firms should publish audited annual results to achieve a more transparent competitive environment, to set a good example, and because there are not good arguments for not doing so.’

But leading firms appeared unconcerned. Deloitte & Touche, which does not published audited results, said: ‘We are a private partnership and wish to continue being so and there is no immediate intention of publishing annual accounts.’

PricewaterhouseCoopers, which publishes global annual results but does not break them down by country, refused to comment.

John Wosner, chairman of Pannell Kerr Forster, one of the few exceptions, said: ‘Where we go for tenders and people want to know a bit more about us, the annual report gets a lot of good comments.’

But the Limited Liability Partnerships Bill, expected to be up and running by 2001, will force firms taking advantage of the new structure to publish audited results.

Profession’s reputation on the line

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