Grant Thornton has set out new measures to further strengthen audit as a specialism at the firm including a £7m investment in “people and technology” over the coming year.
It will establish a new audit quality board and open “centres of excellence” in London and Birmingham which will become hubs for all major audit work . The board will hold the firm to account if it believes audit quality is not receiving appropriate investment and that lessons from inspections are not being addressed.
Grant Thornton will also commission an independent review of audit in autumn 2019. The assessment will be led by a senior individual with no previous connection to the firm, and will scrutinise its approach to audit and make recommendations for further change and improvement.
The measures form part of the firm’s response to recent scrutiny of its audits of large listed companies, and wider efforts to prepare the business to compete for FTSE 350 audit work should changes in the market present a more level playing field for competition.
Grant Thornton UK LLP CEO, Dave Dunckley, said: “As individual firms and as a profession we are under scrutiny. We are responding by strengthening audit as a specialist practice area, one that delivers for all stakeholders. And we will continue to work with our clients and the regulator to go further. The independent review of our audit practice this autumn will be an important part of our continued efforts to improve.
“These changes are also an important part of enhancing our ability to deliver FTSE 350 work in future. Large public businesses and all their stakeholders depend on the choice and quality a genuinely competitive market creates. Grant Thornton will be ready to compete, but we will only re-enter the market if the regulatory and commercial conditions allow.”