Europe stalls on plan to force audit switching

 
City A.M. Reporter
NEGOTIATIONS on a European Union draft law forcing companies to switch accountants around once every ten years are on hold due to disagreements over other planned curbs on auditors, according to a British MEP involved in the talks.

The law, which goes further than recent changes to UK auditor rules, are meant to boost competition in a sector dominated by the Big Four accounting firms: PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY.

EU states and the European Parliament have joint say on the law and had been due to meet yesteday, raising hopes of a final deal.

But EU sources said that as a result of disputes over issues such as banning accountancy firms from giving tax advice to companies whose books they were already auditing, a new date for negotiations is now unlikely before early 2014.

Sajjad Karim, the Conservative politician who is leading negotiations for the assembly, scrapped yesterday’s meeting, because member states failed to come up with new compromises.

“The parliament has made a considerable effort to find a way forward and presented a workable compromise package,” Karim said.

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