Accounting failures costs council over £1m

The borough’s 2017/2018 accounts were only finalised in October 2020

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has racked up costs of over £1m through failures in accounting practices, the council has confirmed.

An Audit and Governance committee report filed ahead of the group’s scheduled 28 January meeting showed the council’s accounts to have been signed off late for four consecutive years.

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As a result of the first late submission, the council incurred an extra £600,000 final fee for the 2016/17 accounts.

Moreover, with the 2017/18 accounts only being signed off at the end of October 2020, accounting firm Ernst and Young (EY) required an additional fee for auditing the accounts of £420,000.

While the accounts for the following two years are yet to be audited, their late submissions are set to increase the total costs that already sit at £1.02m.

Despite auditing for the 2018/19 accounts “anticipated” to be finalised by the end of March 2021, EY ensured it “is not in a position to estimate an amount [of costs] at this point”.

The council now has to deal with the draft 2019/20 accounts, which are set to be published in April 2021, as well as preparation for the 2020/21 accounts that will commence in February.

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