In the second blog of our audit series, Julie Matheson and Sarah Harris discuss the FRC’s recent Audit Quality Inspection report, describe how the FRC uses its powers to uphold audit quality and provide some tips on what to do if the FRC opines that one of your firm’s audits needs more than limited improvements.
Audit is more in the spotlight than ever. The financial news pages seem to have a constant stream of stories about corporate collapses, with the inevitable commentary about how the auditor of the collapsed entity is likely to face a regulatory investigation.
The general election is now over, and Parliament has more time to deal with matters other than Brexit. The spotlight has therefore returned to corporate governance, with The Sunday Times reporting that the FRC is developing a “British version of Sarbanes-Oxley”. It reported that this would “heap more responsibility on to directors, asking them to vouch regularly for the integrity of their financial controls and – if passed into law in the UK – opening the possibility of criminal proceedings against chief executives and finance directors for reporting misleading statements to the market.”
In November of this year we blogged on the Financial Reporting Council’s (‘FRC’) recently published report ‘Developments in Audit’ and highlighted that the FRC’s review was running in parallel with the Competition and Markets Authority (‘CMA’) review of the sector. As we reported, such extensive review has been triggered following the high-profile collapses of companies such as Carillion and BHS.
The high profile collapses of companies such as Carillion and BHS have reignited the debate about the effectiveness of statutory audit. In the FRC’s recently published report, Developments in Audit, the FRC grapples, not for the first time, with how to ensure that audit properly serves the public interest. Auditors can expect some pretty radical changes.