Professional Practice Archives - Emile Woolf writes

Audit independence: only one solution will succeed [SEPTEMBER 2020]

The “flawless” audit exists in the mind alone. Regulators such as the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) are therefore having to deal with the many that, in varying degrees, are flawed. However, the FRC’s practice of allowing so many years to pass before reporting their findings and punishing the culprits undoubtedly weakens its authority and blunts […]

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FRAUD: SAME STORY, BIGGER NUMBERS – Enron remembered as Wirecard

  Although I have forgotten most of my own auditing experiences, a few still stand out. A client company that was in business as a confectionary retailer sold cakes over the counter, either whole or in weighed-out portions. The principal internal control was reconciling the weight of cakes leaving the bakery with the weight of […]

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PROPER AUDITS – STILL TOO DISTANT

“ACCOUNTANCYDAILY” [ONLINE] OCTOBER 2019 – EMILE WOOLF  PROPER AUDITS – STILL TOO DISTANT While recently rummaging through some old papers I spotted the transcript of a lecture I gave in 2003 called “How can audits be made effective?” I was intrigued, but not surprised, to note that the subject matter of that lecture nearly 17 […]

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Auditors’ independence – all or nothing!

ACCOUNTANCY ONLINE – AUGUST 2019 Missing the real point has become an art form EMILE WOOLF The saga of the audit giants rumbles on without any discernible sign of resolution. Even member firms within this group do not speak with one voice on proposals for reform, and recommendations from regulators have so far come up […]

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AUDITORS DEFEATED BY ACCOUNTING ABERRATIONS

  It is a curious development in professional auditing circles that being sued for negligence has almost been overtaken in the “nightmare-stakes” by the threat of a regulatory mauling. Widely broadcast findings that an auditor’s work has been negligent lead to severe reputational attrition and massive fines – and unlike judgments in case law, none […]

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The Auditing endgame is nigh

“ACCOUNTANCY” August 2018 Beginning of the end for the status quo of accounting – and auditing! “That which is crooked cannot be made straight” (Ecclesiastes 1,15). I am not suggesting that accounting is inherently crooked, but it is currently plagued by a “disconnect” between compliance and truth – hardly reflected in the Institute’s motto: “recte […]

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“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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