Accounting & Auditing Archives - Page 4 of 11 - Emile Woolf writes

If audits disregard the client’s culture, they are an expensive waste of time

  How to gauge the effectiveness of audits? It is tempting to point to the growing scale of undetected irregularities and outright frauds and conclude that external audits are simply not fit for purpose. Yet there is no objective measure for assessing how much worse things would be without them. What if corporate propriety resided […]

Read More…

Correspondence with former student

Hi Richard You are right – I don’t write the articles for the paltry sum that they pay. I write them because that is the only way to sort out my own thinking on these tricky subjects. I learnt that from the late, great, Geoffrey Holmes, editor of Accountancy. Whenever he and I wrestled with […]

Read More…

Query from Cyril Solomons, retired manufacturer, on the meaning of “mark-to-market”

Query: “Please explain the meaning of ‘mark-to-market’” Emile’s reply: “If an investing company owns 10 shares of a listed stock purchased for $4 per share, that investment would be shown in the investing company’s balance sheet at cost, i.e. $40, assuming traditional rules that prevailed when I learnt accountancy (“lower of cost and market value”). […]

Read More…

Punishment where it belongs

After six months the fall-out from Tesco’s £263 million half-year profit overstatement still reverberates. The FRC now expects companies to give full and fair disclosure of how they account for income in the areas that brought Tesco into disrepute. Ocado is the first to report under the new regime, yet its accounts give no figures […]

Read More…

QUESTIONS FOR THE PROFESSION’S REGULATOR

Columnists are spoilt for choice – I could have covered the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme (more accurately, “counterfeit”); the Greek anti-austerity surge (“reneging on your debts”); unshackling the Swiss franc (“reality check”) – and I could have thrown in the fact that the examination syllabus for becoming a chartered accountant excludes the word […]

Read More…

Perplexing times for economists and accountants

The world of economics and business is riddled with anomalies. For example, the UK is enjoying buoyant GDP growth and low unemployment, yet the excess of government spending over income (the “deficit”) continues to grow. Despite so-called “cuts”, 46% of GDP still goes on public expenditure, of which 60% doggedly adheres to welfare, health and […]

Read More…

Big Audits: are they fit for purpose?

Over the past 30 years the 12 largest firms, through various consolidating moves, became the Big-8, then the Big-5 and, following the Enron/Andersen debacle 14 years ago, settled down as the “Big-4” who alone possess the reach, technical capability and manpower to conduct audits of the worlds largest enterprises. Although second-tier contenders like BDO and […]

Read More…

Financial rectitude: do the non-execs help?

Any columnist writing about financial misdeeds rarely lacks material. Buccaneering chief executives and ineffective auditors are invariably centre-stage – but what of the wise owls making up the panel of non-executive directors? How effective are they as a bulwark against executive opportunism or worse? I remember one prominent public company CEO, the darling of his […]

Read More…

Banks: prudence and sanity return?

Banks’ auditors have had to deal with the absurdity of accounts failing the ‘true & fair’ test for the very reason that they comply with a flawed standard. Auditors accused of rubber-stamping defective accounts of banks should now feel some relief. The International Accounting Standards Board appears at last to acknowledge the folly of its […]

Read More…