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Today’s news in brief – 18/09/2023

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has announced the opening of applications for its Stakeholder Insight Group (SIG). This cross-stakeholder panel, capped at 20 members, convenes every six weeks to foster dialogue among preparers, investors, reporting framework owners, and civil society groups. The SIG aims to better represent stakeholders, facilitate discussions on evolving reporting and governance expectations, and optimise external stakeholders’ involvement amidst increased demands. Topics covered include emerging risks in accounting, reporting, auditing, governance, and policy development.

Mazars, a prominent audit firm, has appointed Elina Rytseva as its new Audit Quality partner, reinforcing its commitment to audit excellence. Rytseva, an experienced auditor and former PwC partner, will manage the firm’s regulatory relationships and provide support during inspections, further enhancing their audit quality efforts.

In a joint appeal, eleven accountancy and finance professional bodies have urged the UK government to take transformative action to achieve the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 2030 deadline. Despite reaching the halfway point, progress towards the SDGs is lagging, with only 12% of global targets on track and 17% in the UK. The professional bodies called on the government to step up and utilise their expertise to drive progress.

Mid-tier audit firms are increasingly reluctant to undertake audits of listed companies due to concerns about hefty fines. The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) issued six fines to mid-sized audit firms and auditors in the past year, raising worries about the lack of competition in the audit sector. Currently, the Big Four firms dominate 98% of FTSE 350 audit fees. Lengthy FRC investigations and the potential for substantial fines have made it challenging and expensive for mid-tier firms to secure the professional indemnity coverage required for auditing listed companies.

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