Writing in Accountancy Age.com, former KPMG International chairman Lord Sharman floats a revolutionary idea: should the National Audit Office become a private sector auditor of last resort?
To suggest something as radical as that would have been unthinkable even 12 months ago – even though Lord Sharman approached the parliamentary watchdog when KPMG was casting around for an auditor for its own set of published accounts. Back then NAO chief Sir John Bourn had to decline as the NAO was not allowed to audit private sector companies.
But that has changed and in the current feverish climate it is something that will get serious consideration. In the next few weeks the Treasury should publish an interim report into the steps that might be taken by the government to prevent an Enron /Worldcom/Xerox/Merck/Vivendi (insert your own updates here) happening in the UK.
But recent public utterances from DTI and Treasury ministers like Patricia Hewitt, Melanie Johnson and Ruth Kelly show the government intends to act. Accountants should prepare themselves for change.