2012 - Emile Woolf writes

Accountancy’s role in maintaining the cycle of deception

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, the old cliché tells us. But what if it  really is broke? You can alleviate the symptoms but you can’t cure the disease while the root-cause remains. On the economic front, cries for stimulus and growth will remain forlorn while the dearth of credit persists, and monetary systems […]

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Ignore the European lessons and you pay the price – yet again!

What an interesting year for anniversaries! Exactly thirty years ago Laker Airways went bust and Bill Mackey, Laker’s liquidator, left us his own history lesson, which is now part of accountancy folklore. He produced a colourful checklist for prophesying a company’s financial collapse: lavish offices and flash company cars with personalised plates; a flagpole in […]

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Audit Scope: common sense beats rules, every time

The argument about auditors’ contribution to the 2008 debt crisis is still unresolved, and it will remain so until the central question of audit scope is addressed. The traditional perception that auditing has an historic focus merely entrenches its uselessness in the face of a radically altered commercial environment and risk levels that demand a […]

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To survive, auditors must raise their game

Have giant corporations outgrown the ability of even the largest audit firms to report safely on their accounts? Complexity, geographical reach, exponential growth in the number and size of transactions leave auditors struggling to do justice to their authentication processes. The greater the size of the client entity, the more that can go wrong. This […]

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Extreme action fails: whether it’s EU politics or over-zealous accounting

 The human condition is characterized by periodic swings between lawless permissiveness at one extreme and uncompromising rigidity at the other. Whenever one dominates it falls victim to corrective processes that, in turn, become excessive. Sanity is restored only when the pendulum returns, even briefly, to a position somewhere between. Abuses of vulnerable members of society […]

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Audit scope: common sense beats rules every time

The argument about auditors’ contribution to the 2008 debt crisis is still unresolved, and it will remain so until the central question of audit scope is addressed. The traditional perception that auditing has an historic focus merely entrenches its uselessness in the face of a radically altered commercial environment and risk levels that demand a […]

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