• Register
Return to: Home > News > Advisory > KPMG UK fined over audit work

KPMG UK fined over audit work

The UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has fined KPMG UK and senior statutory auditor and audit engagement partner Michael Francis Barradell over misconduct for their work for British clothing retailer Ted Baker for the financial years ended 26 January 2013 and 25 January 2014.

KPMG were fined £3m ($3.8m) and Barradell was fined £80,000. Both fines were discounted to £2.1m and £46,000 respectively for settlement. Additionally KPMG will pay £112,000 to cover the costs of the FRC’s executive counsel’s investigation costs.

The FRC found that KPMG breached ethical standards as the firm provided expert witness services to Ted Baker in a commercial court claim which led to the loss of KPMG’s independence in respect of its audits.

This created a risk that the audit team would review the work of the witness service it provided when auditing Ted Baker’s treatment of the claim in its accounts. The FRC said this posed ‘an unacceptable self-review threat’.

Additionally, there was a self-interest threat which arose from the fact that the fees for the expert engagement exceeded the audit fees in the relevant years. However, the FRC’s executive counsel did not allege that KPMG or Barradell lacked objectivity or integrity.

FRC interim executive counsel Claudia Mortimore said: “Ethical standards are critical in supporting the confidence that third party users can reasonably have in financial statements in circumstances where, of necessity, they only have incomplete information to judge whether the auditor is in fact objective.

“Where those standards are breached such that the auditor’s independence is lost, user confidence is likely to be undermined; the FRC makes clear by these sanctions the seriousness with which such breaches and their consequences are viewed.”

A spokesperson for KPMG responded: “We are committed to upholding the highest standards of independence and regret that in this instance our processes fell short of the standards that we expect of our firm. We welcome the FRC making clear that they do not allege a lack of integrity or objectivity on KPMG’s part and we note that our audit opinions on Ted Baker’s financial statements have not been called into question.

“We continually seek to review and improve our processes. In 2017 we took the decision not to undertake expert witness work for any company audited by KPMG UK, going beyond the requirements of the FRC’s Ethical Standard. The FRC’s Audit Quality Review team’s most recent public report on KPMG identified the firm’s monitoring and approval of non-audit services as an area of good practice.

“This case is one of a number which have been under investigation by the FRC for some time and which relate to work undertaken several years ago. We have been cooperating fully with our regulator to resolve these older matters and are hopeful that several will be concluded in the near future. Where there are lessons to be learned, we will learn them.”

Top Content

    The UK: uncertain waves rule Britannia

    he UK’s accountancy profession is currently in a period of much uncertainty. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has released its review into the listed audit market which could cause the biggest shake-up the profession has seen in years, the Kingman Review has described the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) as not being fit for purpose and called for it to be replaced. All the while the country remains in a deadlock on Brexit negotiations.

    read more

    Views from the Eurozone

    With Brexit looming, populist governments gaining footholds in a number of countries and movements such as the Yellow Jacket protests in France, 2018 was anything but a quite year for the eurozone. Here leaders report to the IAB on their markets.

    read more

    Eastern promise and how to find it

    With China rising as a global power, Jonathan Minter spoke with ShineWing’s Zhang Ke and Marco Carlei at the World Congress of Accountants 2018 in Sydney, to discuss the cultural challenges that occur when Chinese networks look beyond their border, and the dividends available for those who overcome them.

    read more

    Spain: looking to widen demand

    As Spanish accounting professionals prepare for new audit regulations, the Paul Golden asks what they need to do individually and at firm level to maintain and increase demand for their services.

    read more
Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.