The UK’s new government should simply “get on” with plans to overhaul the audit sector, to ensure the long-term stability and resilience of Britain’s economy, the head of one of the country’s largest accountancy sector trade bodies has said.
In three separate letters to prime minister Rishi Sunak, business secretary Grant Shapps and chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt, the CIIA chief urged the UK’s new government to “remain fully committed” to the audit reform plans set out in the Queen’s Speech earlier this year.
The CIIA called on the government to push forwards with the plans to overhaul the UK’s audit sector, by creating a new regulator, called ARGA, to replace the FRC, and tackling the dominance of the Big Four, by forcing them to share audit work with smaller competitors.
The letters to the UK’s new cabinet come just weeks after the CIIA sent similar letters to Liz Truss’ government, calling on the former-prime minister and her cabinet to push forwards with the shakeup of the audit sector.
The letters to the current government say the “challenges” UK businesses face in “an increasingly uncertain and economically volatile world” now make audit reform “more important than ever,” as they call on the government to push ahead with the plans, despite the “pressing issues” it’s currently facing.
The audit body’s letters argue that “now more than ever” businesses and investors require “high-quality, accurate and effective audits” to help them navigate the storm facing currently facing the global economy.
The CIIA’s letters note that audit scandals in the past, including those surrounding BHS, Thomas Cook, Patisserie Valerie, and Carillion, have cost taxpayers millions and caused thousands of jobs to be lost, as they argue stronger governance and auditing could have helped “avert” those losses.
The CIIA called on the UK government to “move forward” with plans to revamp the audit sector, by setting out a timetable for the reforms, and passing any legislation “when parliamentary time allows”.