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Mps call for break-up of big four’s accountancy services

Published:
10
May 2019

The UK’s largest accountancy firms should be split into audit and non-audit businesses, according to recommendations from a Government committee.

The Big Four accountancy giants conduct 97% of large company audits, while also supplying those firms with other services.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee published a report highlighting a potential conflict of interest between the audit and consultancy services offered.

It said an operational division between audit and non-audit services should be put in place, claiming a full structural split would help detect fraud by increasing professional skepticism.

Rachel Reeves, chair of the BEIS Committee, said:

“The client relationship and the conflicts of interest which abound undermine the professional skepticism needed to deliver reliable, high-quality audits.

“Splitting audit from non-audit business would be a big step towards delivering high-quality audits.”

Josh Hardie, deputy director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said:

“Businesses are aware there are problems with the audit market and it is a tough challenge to ix them.

“But the UK’s position as a stable, evidence-based country is under threat and rushing to simplistic measures, rather than following a clear, considered long-term approach, will damage our reputation further.”

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