Accounting & Auditing Archives - Page 4 of 12 - Emile Woolf writes

Proper audits – are they really so difficult?

Regulatory scrutiny is an expensive waste of time and money if it focuses on the form but completely misses the substance. One wonders about the quality of diligence that preceded (and the audit work that followed) Olympus’s takeover of the UK Gyrus Group, when so-called “advisory payments” of $687 million, one-third of the entire acquisition […]

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PRUDENT ACCOUNTING – NEEDED MORE THAN EVER

Unaccountable accounting began three decades ago. I know, because I was there when it happened. As a member of the UK Auditing Practices Committee (APC), I acted as its observer on the Accounting Standards Committee (ASC). Professional life was simpler then: ASC set the accounting standards, effectively UK GAAP, and APC set the auditing standards. […]

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Auditors must not disregard the client’s culture

  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 […]

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Paying the price for delusional regulation – at every level

  Legislators and bureaucrats seem incapable of distinguishing idealism from what is achievable in the real world. We saw a couple of months ago that Greece was granted a third bailout after promising its creditors a primary surplus of tax receipts over government spending for the foreseeable future. As expected, its economy then plunged straight […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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”). […]

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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 […]

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