Clients and contacts interested in matters that affect the accountancy market may have noticed press commentary recently regarding a “well-known”, listed, sports retailer that is unable to find an auditor.
None of the big four firms is willing to act, for a variety of reasons, and it is doubtful if mid-tier firms – on their own – could cope.
The company may need to seek help from the government as they have the final say in the matter: in consultation with the company directors, they are obliged to set in motion a formal tendering process.
Is the free market approach stalling? Are our larger trading companies becoming too complex to achieve realistic oversight from a non-statutory source? As the number of challenges that audit firms are facing increases, to justify their audit opinions, are we facing a point of change where all listed company audits are placed out to a government tender process?
Free-market advocates will not be amused and yet if no-one is willing to stand at the crease and offer an audit opinion, what other options are there? Could we perhaps have a consortium of mid-range firms offering a solution?
The markets need to have confidence in published accounts as these underpin share valuations and all manner of proposed corporate acquisitions and mergers. Perhaps the mid-tier firms should be brushing off their due diligence skills. If less credence is placed on published accounts perhaps interested parties would be better off supervising their own checks and balances.
Meanwhile, the sports retailer is without an auditor, any offers?