New name rules allow closer auditor links

The ICAEW has backed down on its strict rules governing accountancy consolidators’ links with audit firms.

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The institute has allowed audit firms to change their names to more closely match that of the publicly listed accountancy consolidator with which they are linked.

Auditors have previously not been allowed to take the name of the consolidator, in an effort to maintain auditor objectivity.

But the tide has turned with Blueprint Audit’s announcement that it will now be called Tenon Audit. The decision to allow the name change went through the institute’s audit registration committee and the joint audit committee – comprising the ICAEW, ICAS and ICAI.

‘When consolidators first came onto the scene their audit registrations were subject to certain “ground rules”. In time these rules needed to be looked at again,’ said an ICAEW spokeswoman.

‘Any promotional material mentioning both brands must have a footnote explaining the circumstances.’

Chris Cairns, compliance director for Tenon Audit, said the change in the rule governing consolidators would make the whole situation easier for clients to understand.

‘We approached the institute and entered into changing our name. Our discussions included considerations regarding the independence issues, which occurred over a long period of time. The distinction between the two businesses is the same.

‘By having different names it made the distinction blurred.

‘We see this as firmly in the public interest to make this move. There is no change in our relationship with Tenon whatsoever.’

Accountancy Age has learned that other auditors are in discussions with the institutes about changing their names.

HLB AV Audit, which is linked to Numerica, is considering the move. ‘We’ve been talking to the institute, and we are considering it,’ said HLB AV Audit managing director George Ridgway. ‘But we’re not driven by what Tenon Audit has done.’

Vantis-linked auditor Audit Assure was unavailable for comment.

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