FDs back public role for accountants

Link: Firms to judge public services

Accountancy Age revealed last week that the Audit Commission is to go ahead with plans to commission firms to undertake value for money inspections and this week a poll of FDs showed solid backing for the measure.

The latest Accountancy Age/Reed Finance survey showed that half of FDs polled believe the move is a step in the right direction. Some even described the policy as ‘long overdue’.

‘Accountants are trained to assess value for money decisions. Plus thankfully, it is in our nature to authorise expenditure as though the money is our own,’ said one FD.

Steve Bundred, head of the Audit Commission, revealed last week that, after trials, firms would be allowed into the market for inspections. Pilot schemes have met with success, he said. ‘We’ve been very happy with the results and it’s given us confidence that we can create a mixed market.’

But 32% of FDs raised concerns that accountants would pass judgements on financial criteria alone.

‘Where the value is more subjective, an accountant alone could no more determine the value for money than a social worker alone because his point of reference is biased toward his expertise,’ said one of the FDs polled.

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