Rules are made to be broken

However, there is a danger that a box-ticking approach will operate in UK boardrooms if the Higgs proposals are allowed to stand unchecked. Even Derek Higgs has warned shareholders not to push companies into ‘mindless compliance’ with the proposals in his report on corporate governance.

The praises of principles over rules have long been sung by leading UK accountants. And those arguments have impressed the government, which resisted wholesale change in its proposals for audit reform published back in January.

As ICAEW president Peter Wyman acknowledged this week, the battle is only half-won.

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