Accounting Standards

One month delay for BEIS audit report

The reforms will supposedly place tougher burdens on directors to improve auditing standards

Publishing of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) report on audit reform is reportedly over a month late, after failing to materialise despite being due on 8 February.

According to City AM, the reforms will supposedly place tougher burdens on directors to improve auditing standards.

However, the report is yet to be published despite Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary, claiming that audit reform was a “priority” for his department.

A spokesperson for the BEIS said that strengthening the corporate governance and audit regime “will help to ensure that the UK remains a world leader in corporate transparency and advance its status as a place of the highest standards in audit.”

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The BEIS added: “The government has accepted the findings of three independent reviews into audit and corporate reporting, and is committed to acting on their recommendations.

“The business secretary has been clear that audit reform is a priority for the department and we will publish comprehensive proposals shortly.”

Included in the reforms is the expected change to responsibilities for financial reporting, as directors, rather than boards, will be held accountable for malpractice, therefore facing individual fines and temporary bans.

David Herbinet, global head of audit at Mazars, told City AM: “There have now been four secretaries of state since the reform process began, yet we are still faced with the reality that one of the existing dominant firms leaving the market would seriously destabilise capital markets.This must be addressed at the soonest opportunity.

“We are soon to be presented with a once in a generation opportunity to finally implement an audit and corporate governance regime which encourages resilience and good decision making, while promoting enterprise.”

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