Big Four challengers join forces to call for audit change

THE BIGGEST challengers to the Big Four’s audit work have joined forces to call for the removal of restrictive audit clauses in bank covenants and greater assessment by companies of their auditor choice, in an attempt to improve the market.

In a joint statement the international heads of Mazars, RSM, BDO and Grant Thornton want the relevance of auditing considered, and greater competition across a single market, to evolve audit.

“We welcome the initiative taken by the European Commission (EC) with its wide ranging review covering all aspects of the audit profession, as well as the international leadership it has offered,” they said in a statement.

“We strongly support the view that there is an urgent need for an integrated ‘programme of reforms’ and a necessity for regulatory action.”

The statement came as the EC began its two-day conference looking into accounting standards and auditing.

They also want global assessment of significant mergers or acquisitions by “globally dominant players” which would prevent other firms from developing international capabilities.

Measures should also be introduced to help auditors work more easily across country borders. “Further harmonisation of the requirements governing the relationship between auditors and the entities they audit and the adoption of international standards on auditing, would contribute to ensuring more uniform audit quality in the single market and a level playing field across the union.”

The statement was signed by (pictured left to right): Jean Stephens, CEO, RSM International; Patrick de Cambourg, chairman and CEO, Mazars;  Jeremy Newman, CEO, BDO International; and Ed Nusbaum CEO, Grant Thornton International.

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