BusinessCorporate FinanceFor, or not for, the whole world to see

For, or not for, the whole world to see

Efforts within the Financial Reporting Council to decide whether reports from its Audit Inspection Unit should be made public look as if they could be overhauled by a drive in Parliament to make the reporting process more transparent

But while it might look a little embarrassing that the legislators are
forcing the issue, while regulators continue to navel gaze, it could work in the
watchdog’s favour. The consultation, in case you’d forgotten, was on whether the
reports written on individual audit firms should be published for all the world
to see.

Mid-tier firms have argued that they should, believing that they will reveal,
not only that their audit work is comparable to the Big Four’s, but also link
the largest firms to some of the problems mentioned in the current anonymised
reports. Indeed, they believe that anonymised reports ‘perpetuate’ the ‘myth’
that Big Four audit is more reliable than from other firms.

But now, Baroness Noakes, a former president of the ICAEW, is pushing for the
Freedom of Information Act to apply to the inspection reports, a measure that
would leave the full panoply of reporting out in the open.

Clearly, deciding on whether to make the reports public would be a difficult
decision for the regulators mulling the matter over. Big Four partners would
probably lobby hard for the status quo, arguing that anonymous reporting
encourages open and honest communication between the regulator and the firms it
overseas. But an FOI application would make the anonymised reports pointless and
open the way for the regulator to publish the reports without fear of criticism.
The regulator will still have to decide if the reports should be given out under
the act, but it might just absolve them of blame if they do it.

Related Articles

Grant Thornton recruits new corporate finance partner

Accounting Firms Grant Thornton recruits new corporate finance partner

11m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Total fraud value at £2bn five-year high, finds BDO

Accounting Firms Total fraud value at £2bn five-year high, finds BDO

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
MHA MacIntyre Hudson appoints corporate finance director

Accounting Firms MHA MacIntyre Hudson appoints corporate finance director

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

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

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
KPMG announces senior partner promotion in Newcastle

Accounting Firms KPMG announces senior partner promotion in Newcastle

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Independent city firm reports 70% growth

Accounting Firms Independent city firm reports 70% growth

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Tax avoidance crackdown sees 80% jump in additional HMRC revenue

Accounting Firms Tax avoidance crackdown sees 80% jump in additional HMRC revenue

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Making Tax Digital: the "unexpected item in the bagging area"

Accounting Standards Making Tax Digital: the "unexpected item in the bagging area"

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer