PwC boss urges audit review

IAN POWELL, PwC’s chairman and senior partner has called on the auditing profession to examine its role and responsibilities, and evaluate how it can change.

Speaking last night, Powell said that the current public debate is focused on the “value and relevance” of the traditional audit.

He said: “While there is no single right answer to what those changes need to be, there is a broad spectrum of reforms which will make a positive impact.”

His remarks come as the auditing profession faces scrutiny into professional standards and competition issues in the industry.

The House of Lords economic affairs select committee is currently investigating competition concerns over the market dominance held by the big four accounting firms, while the large accountants have recently been the subject of heavy criticism for the quality of audit work done on companies such as Lehman Brothers which collapsed in 2008.

Powell yesterday suggested raising the bar on auditing standards and making audits more transparent.

Discussions with clients and the Treasury’s Audit Committee should be public, according to Powell.
Powell is also urging the profession to focus on narrative reporting – the critical contextual and non-financial information that is reported alongside financial information at the front of annual report.