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Big Four

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ICAEW displays a healthy degree of scepticism

There’s been lots of talk lately about “scepticism” and “auditing”. As in the post-corporate collapse… “the audit failed to demonstrate a necessary degree of professional scepticism”. This sort of comment makes for a tasty sound bite. And it’s clear that a good degree of scepticism is at the heart of a good auditor. But what […]

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US watchdog’s chief accountant speaks to ICAEW

Boosting audit quality is vital to global economic progress, according to Wesley Bricker, chief accountant at the US’s financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission. Wesley’s talk on “The intersection of financial reporting and innovation” at ICAEW in London last week was right on the mark … and the full text of his lecture can be found […]

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MP presses FRC on PWC audit of BHS

More Big Four woes. MP Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee, wants an update from the Financial Reporting Council over its mainly unpublished but stinging report on PWC’s 2014 audit of Taveta. That’s the one that included auditors signing off Philip Green’s BHS as a “going concern” days before its sale for […]

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Measures to bring the Big Four to order

The latest shenanigans involving the Big Four audit firms have prompted a former, longstanding member of the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to join the debate over what should/can be done about these groups’ increasingly unpleasant grip on the market. Rarely a day goes by when there isn’t a headline about an alleged blunder […]

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Legalise cannabis and collect more tax, says IEA

Statisticians at the Institute of Economic Affairs reckon the UK could collect more than £1 billion a year in tax revenue if cannabis were legalised. A report by the right-wing think-tank says about 255 tonnes of  weed is sold to three million black-market users at about £2.6 billion a year. The institute, much favoured as an information source by Margaret […]

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More uncomfortable audit truths for the Big Four

PwC chairman Kevin Ellis’s “uncomfortable” email lambasting senior auditor Steve Denison over his “inadequate” work on failed UK store BHS was leaked to the media last week. And, quite rightly, it is causing a stir. The FRC had at this stage already imposed a £350k fine and 15-year professional ban on Denison. The note to […]

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UK employers lack sparkle with golden age workers

When it comes to employing people over 55, the UK ranks 21st out of 35 countries. PwC’s Golden Age index has Iceland, New Zealand and Israel at the top of the league. One way of interpreting all this is that nations could be richer if people had longer working lives. Potentially to the tune of $3.5 […]

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Big Four accountants plan for break-up

The break-up of the Big Four accounting firms seems to be edging closer. The main story in today’s FT is that KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PwC have made contingency plans for a break up of their UK businesses. It’s a solution to the conflict of interest problem in the audit sector that’s favoured by politicians, […]

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