Professional Practice Archives - Emile Woolf writes

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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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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Boardroom mega bucks – ludicrous pay deals

Explaining boardroom mega-bucks The basic pay of most employees is governed by industrial and professional norms, and is relatively stable over time when so-called “inflation” adjustments are factored in. Almost unbelievably, today’s average hourly wage has the same buying power as it did 45 years ago! By contrast, executive remuneration in the largest companies is […]

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Economic Perspectives 9 – Regulatory extortion and legitimising corruption

News media gloat over the eye-watering levels of retribution (in the form of fines and penalties) finally being meted out to aberrant banks found guilty of having violated securities laws leading up to the last financial crash. I find it astonishing, firstly, that it has taken close to 10 years to identify, formulate and punish […]

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Pension fund audits: time for a rethink

November 2016 “Accountancy” The central bankers’ obsession with interest rate cuts as a means of stimulating economic recovery reminds me of the “dare” games we played as children, such as “how long can you keep your finger in the candle flame?” Or, in banking terms, “how close to zero can you fix interest rates before […]

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Defective Accounting Standards & Failed Regulation

“Accountancy” Magazine – October 2016 Standard-setting or obfuscation? The accounting world has become shrouded in complexity, largely of its own making. Here’s an uncontroversial statement of its original purpose: “To report the results of an entity’s economic transactions in accordance with well-understood and generally accepted accounting principles”. Here is an equally uncontroversial statement: No enterprise would […]

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Post-Brexit opportunities – and regulatory failures

“Accountancy” Magazine: September 2016 In the wake of Brexit, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is urging companies to engage in dialogue with their auditors on whether specific disclosures are needed in their annual strategic report. This, for many companies, will provide a key focus for members, potential investors and financial journalists. Drafting its section on […]

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Audit Committees’ Demanding Role

Woolf: clamping down on share of non-audit services As new audit regulations take effect with the introduction of the EU Audit Regulations and Directive (ARD) into UK legislation, Emile Woolf FCA emphasises the need for renewed rigour in governance and auditor oversight 29 Jul 2016 Emile Woolf FCA, chartered accountant View profile and articles. Governance […]

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