The Practitioner: Why my firm is quitting audit

EVER SINCE BEGINNING my training as an accountant too many years ago, I have worked in firms of accountants and registered auditors. The two always went hand in hand I believed…a bit like excitement and Christmas.

As I’ve got older I’ve realised that Christmas isn’t as exciting anymore, and firms of accountants don’t necessarily have to be auditors also.

Why this is relevant to me today is that we have taken the decision to relinquish our audit registration. I mentioned this a few months ago and we are still of the same mind-set.

The additional CPD burden and cost simply does not bring any benefit.

I think that when new, young, entrepreneurs are looking for advisers they are actually put off by the term ‘auditor’ next to the firm’s name. I think that ‘accountants and business advisers’ has a more modern ring to it, and let’s face it – so few firms now require an audit that as time passes fewer and fewer people will even know what the term means.

Instititutes’ lost message

Despite the Institute and Association doing their best to sing the praises of having a voluntary audit I don’t think the message is getting across. As a firm we see more value and fees in value-added services that the client can see real benefit from, and it’s not as hard a sell as persuading them to have an audit.

I can safely say that we have never been asked to do a voluntary audit for a client.
We do, however, have a client who has a voluntary audit but we are not the auditors due, partly, to our involvement in the day-to-day financial management of the business. The client company is older than I am and the older family shareholders still request an audit.

The London auditors continue to fleece them every year, charging them five figure fees for less than a week’s work. It does grieve me a little, as they charge more for a few days audit work than we do for a whole year’s management fees.

Another example of why audit is dying, if you ask me.

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from within their own practice – having left a regional firm in the heart of England

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