PracticeAccounting FirmsSmall firms reject compulsory review

Small firms reject compulsory review

Controversial plans for a compulsory review regime for small accountancy firms have been given a decisive thumbs down by ICAEW members.

An overwhelming majority, more than eight in ten, of small practices believe any review system should not be made compulsory and such a scheme would not improve public confidence in general practitioners.

According to the survey by the Small Practitioners Association of practices with up to five partners, only 12% believed the review system, provisionally called ‘Practice Assurance’ would be relevant to general practitioners.

But the SPA’s chairman, Peter Mitchell, accepted some form of review would be inevitable. ‘Other institutes have a review system, but the question of the form and method of the review needs to be answered.’

Last December, the ICAEW council agreed the go-ahead in principle for the practice assurance scheme, which would include a compulsory review of all areas of client work.

Detailed proposals are due to be debated by an informal meeting of the institute’s council in September, but the scheme will need to be approved by all ICAEW members at a special general meeting in June next year.

John Edwards, head of practice assurance at the ICAEW, said the institute’s own surveys had shown 60% were adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach to the scheme. He said: ‘It’s not a done deal, we have been around the country carrying out briefing sessions with district societies to say what our current thinking is.’

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