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Today’s news in brief – 6/3/2024

Bill Butler, CPFA, CSyP, has been appointed as chair of the Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited (PSAA), succeeding Steve Freer from April 1, 2024. With extensive experience in organisational transformation, partnership working, and governance, Butler aims to contribute to sustainable improvements in public sector audit. CIPFA welcomes the appointment, emphasising Bill’s expertise during a crucial time for local councils facing cost pressures. The phased transition aims to ensure timely audit assurance. Acknowledging Steve Freer’s outstanding tenure, Cllr Abi Brown OBE expresses confidence in Bill’s role in achieving necessary improvements.

Grant Thornton has reinforced its mergers and acquisitions team in Bristol and Cardiff with promotions and new hires after a successful 2023. Jamie Roberts, Adam Hughes, James Smart, and Tom Bew receive promotions, while a new assistant manager is set to join in April. Despite global M&A market slowdowns, Grant Thornton’s South West and Wales offices continue to thrive. The team’s focus on healthcare, technology, and infrastructure support services contributes to their success. Nick Jones, director, emphasises the team’s quality and commitment in completing transactions amid economic challenges, showcasing the firm’s resilience in key markets.

BKL has merged with Alan Heywood and Company (AH andCo), specialising in music, media, and entertainment industries. AH and Co’s North London-based team joins BKL, contributing to sector-specific expertise and supporting BKL’s growth strategy. The merger, effective March 4, increases BKL’s team to over 270 people, including 27 partners. The move aligns with BKL’s focus on sector-specific advisory, enhancing its position in music, media, and entertainment. Lee Brook, BKL CEO, expresses excitement about the collaboration and the opportunity to provide clients with personalised services while expanding the firm’s capabilities.

Audit fees for UK listed companies has surge by 75% since 2017, reaching an average of £694,083 in 2022/23, reveals a report by the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA). Factors contributing to this increase include decreased auditor availability, heightened financial reporting requirements, and competition from private equity and technology industries for talent. The QCA recommends measures such as streamlining audits, enhancing industry attractiveness, evaluating liability regimes, and promoting fee transparency to address the rising costs. The impact on small and medium-sized publicly listed companies diverts crucial resources, hindering growth and innovation in the wider UK economy.

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