With the government’s massive bail out of banks and the markets looking like
they’ve bought into Gordon Brown’s solution, it provides a breather, time to
point the finger and to demand change. And some of that flak is heading your
course, anyone could have told you this, no self respecting accountant could
imagine anything different.
But last week, as Brown’s plan was discussed in the House, the targeting of
the profession began somewhat in earnest.
Michael Meacher, a former government minister, was first protesting at ‘dodgy
auditing’. He is already on record as having written to the prime minister
calling for a Committee of Inquiry to look into ‘governance, accounting and
auditing of the banks’.
Then came Harry Cohen, a CIPFA member, similarly calling for action, and
tabling a motion that some form of improvement in the accounting and auditing
needed to go alongside the rescue package.
There used to be a time when Austin Mitchell would get all polemical over
this sort of thing, but Meacher and Cohen are today’s advance guard calling for
Once again accounting is a matter for politics. Just as the fair value
standard has become a cause for comment for everyone from Brown to Nicholas
Sarkozy, you couldn’t say right now that audit won’t be too.
Politicians live and breathe this kind of thing and they can smell blood. The
banks are smarting from having to be rescued and they sense that now is the time
for a left wing agenda to capitalise and move power back to the state.
Expect to hear more from these voices.
Gavin Hinks is the editor of Accountancy Age
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