Professional Practice Archives - Emile Woolf writes

“Grasping the nettle: now or never for auditors!”

JUNE 2018 – “ACCOUNTANCY” GRASPING THE NETTLE – IT’S NOW OR NEVER FOR AUDITORS It has descended into predictable farce. Every time a corporate reporting clanger is dropped and auditors of a public company are mired in yet another scandal, the Financial Reporting Council responds by undertaking to investigate the accounts and audit of the […]

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Tackling the auditing malaise – at source

“ACCOUNTANCY” – APRIL 2018 – EMILE WOOLF “TACKLING THE SOURCE OF THE MALAISE” Deserved it may be, but the massive reputational battering of Big 4 brands does nothing for the profession’s standing. Since those firms appear to be quite capable of bearing the financial consequences of their errors – indeed, their own financial strength exceeds […]

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The FRC’s penal sanctions regime fails to raise standards

“ACCOUNTANCY” – FEBRUARY 2018 PENAL SANCTIONS REGIME THAT DOES NOT RAISE STANDARDS The main objectives of the Financial Reporting Council’s sanctions policy are to improve audit performance, protect the public from sub-standard work, maintain market confidence and uphold proper auditing standards. The policy emphasizes, however, that its purpose is not to punish, but to protect […]

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HBOS, KPMG & FRC – a trio mired in scandal

“ACCOUNTANCY” – DECEMBER 2017 HBOS, KPMG & FRC – a trio mired in scandal How much credence can shareholders of public companies safely attach to financial statements that carry a “true and fair” imprimatur from their auditors? Big-4 firms hold the lion’s share of public company audit appointments, yet they are regularly found to have […]

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Institutionally Gullible – loan-loss provisions

“ACCOUNTANCY” – JUNE 2017 Banks, criminality and accounting: end of the road?  All those banks and other financial institutions that have gone bust, or been bailed out, over the past 20 years demonstrate that the sector’s corporate conduct has been wayward, to put it mildly. That these dodgy outfits are located in the UK, USA, […]

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BANKING SCANDALS: CAN THE RBS SAGA TELL US ANYTHING NEW?

It’s not as if each successive banking scandal throws up new insights. The proverbial “innocent bystander” might reasonably suppose that, by now, something would have been learnt from the cyclical repetition of egregious behaviour and the crises it generates. Much of this behaviour is just plain foolish: unbridled credit expansion; lending practices landing banks with […]

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Why revised Ethical Standard will not restore public trust

‘ACCOUNTANCY’ – AUGUST 2017 Why the FRC’s ethical standard fails to restore public trust Ethics is far more than an incidental feature of the auditing framework. It is actually its very essence. In virtually every instance of audit failure that finds its way into the public domain, whether it concerns undetected management fraud, money laundering, […]

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Clarity or obfuscation?

Cashing in on complexity: the ultimate conflict Last month I deplored the unfathomable regulatory maze into which accounting rules have descended, noting its utter irrelevance to stakeholders’ needs. I condemned the vast tracts of clutter in company reports that leave little room for anything potentially useful, and I denounced the massive sums wasted on consultancies […]

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Accounting clarity – or regulatory clutter?

APRIL 2017 – ‘ACCOUNTANCY’ MAGAZINE The impediment of accounting clutter Management accounts have never been subjected to the rigorous straightjacket of regulatory standards because people running businesses base their internal accounting systems on utility, or relevance to their needs. In an ideal world, users of published financial statements would be consulted on utility before involving […]

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Useless Sanctions against Banks

‘ACCOUNTANCY’ – JANUARY 2017 MONETARY SANCTIONS? USELESS ON THEIR OWN Unfortunately for our profession, the ‘Big 4’ label may equally be taken to refer to HSBC, RBS, Lloyds and Barclays, which between them have incurred an eye-watering £50 billion in fines and lawsuits since the financial crisis began ten years ago. Their misdemeanours relate mainly […]

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