I’m all for the democratic process, but this simply wouldn’t be allowed in
practice or the private sector.
It’s a bit like letting accounting firms decide whether cases should be
referred to the JDS. How many do you think would be subject of water cooler
gossip if that was the case?
It also denies some auditors a lucrative job which could have raked in up to
£500,000 if MPs had gone for the full-fat option of the probe.
When they’re not too busy dishing out the largest consultancy jobs to the Big
Four, government likes to give the chasing pack a shot as well, Grant Thornton
are helping the Tories on PAYE and Tenon are in the middle of a three-year audit
contract with the National Audit Office, which could possibly be extended for
another couple of years after that.
Talking of the NAO, the watchdog – itself no stranger to a bit of expenses
controversy – did warn that the process would be substantial, intrusive and
costly but seeing as the bill for this works out at between 0.1 and 0.3% of MPs
expenses tab its looked like pretty good value.
But ruling that their expenses won’t come under the audit microscope won’t do
much to convince the public that Westminster isn’t just one big gravy train.
But it’s not all bad for the profession. Earlier this week, the Lib Dems were
the first to break ranks and say that they were talking to the ICAEW about the
institute auditing party members’ expenses.
The institute is set to meet with the party’s chief whip in
the next few weeks to discuss the issue, an ICAEW spokesman said.
David Jetuah is a reporter on Accountancy Age
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