Big 4 Archives - Emile Woolf writes

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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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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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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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 […]

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Audit quality: is lack of competition the problem?

Twelve years ago, when their audit of Enron’s last accounts heralded the demise of Arthur Andersen, the largest end of the audit market shrank to four firms. The Competition Commission (CC) has now provisionally concluded that the audit market is restricted: companies are inhibited from switching auditors and there is a tendency for auditors to […]

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