PracticeConsultingOxera: The return – it’s nothing to FEAR

Oxera: The return - it's nothing to FEAR

There is little doubt that news that Oxera, the Oxford-based economic consultancy, is once again looking at issues to do with accountancy and audit will come as somewhat disturbing to the Big Four

It was Oxera, remember, that produced the report that set off the whole
debate on the regulation of audit firms in the UK with its conclusion that more
large audit firms were needed to serve the FTSE 350. Since then speculation has
centered on what could be done about it, with the view growing that there was
very little in the pipeline. Certainly the Big Four have argued vociferously
that four is enough, though more, they add, would be useful.

But the latest Oxera review, ordered by the European Commission, if we
understand correctly, will look at current legislation and the parts that govern
ownership of audit firms. Crucially, retaining Oxera will be seen as vindication
at the highest level for its earlier report that took a lot of flak. More
important relaxing ownership would be a radical step with the intention of
creating access to capital that would enable big firms to be created at an
accelerated rate.

We’re a long way from Oxera’s conclusions but there will no doubt be furious
lobbying to come. With ownership high on the agenda there will be much energy
invested in shoring up the current rules.

But the debate is worth having. There’s no harm in the profession examining
itself and asking these tough question.

Should audit firms be owned only by auditors? It’s likely that many in the
profession are prepared to say that it is no longer a necessary prerequisite for
a reliable and quality audit profession. But it could also be the measure that
deals with competition issue highlighted by Oxera. If that’s the case, then it’s
an issue worth serious consideration.

Related Articles

5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

Accounting Software 5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

Consulting Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

Accounting Firms Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

Business Regulation Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

1y Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

Audit Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

1y Kevin Reed, Writer
New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

Accounting Firms New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

1y Stephanie Wix, Writer