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October 29, 2019updated 28 Jan 2021 9:29am

IIA: UK Government must legislate to deliver audit regulator reform

By Joe Pickard

The Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) has called on the UK Government to find parliamentary time for audit regulator reform.

In a letter to the UK business secretary Andrea Leadsom, IIA chief executive Ian Peters warned that ‘given recent corporate collapses (BHS, Carillion, Patisserie Valerie and Thomas Cook) we believe it is critical the Government now takes urgent action to replace the FRC with ARGA’ and urged the government to ‘ensure parliamentary time is found to pass the legislation required in the coming months’.

The Queen's Speech, which outlines the government’s agenda at the beginning of each parliamentary session, given on 14 October did not contain any mention of audit regulator reform legislation.

Following this Queen's Speech, Jon Kingman, who led the review into the UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and suggested that it should be replaced by the Audit, Reporting and governance Authority (ARGA), expressed his concern to the government of letting the FRC ‘drift on’.

Peters said: “The collapses of Carillion and others highlight the urgent need for audit regulator reform. The absence of the necessary legislation from the Queen’s Speech was a huge missed opportunity and has raised serious questions about the Government’s commitment to reforming the audit regulator.

“I have urged the Business Secretary to find parliamentary time without delay, to pass legislation which would give ARGA the powers it needs to do its job and help prevent future corporate collapses.”

Over the past couple of years, the government agenda has been heavily dominated by the proposed terms of the UK’s departure from the European Union which has been delayed until 31 January 2020.

Yesterday, a motion for a general election to take place in December was defeated in the Commons. In response, ACCA chief executive expressed her concern of the uncertainty being caused around the issue of Brexit. She said: “The EU, in granting this and previous extensions, has repeatedly urged the UK government to make best use of the additional time at our disposal.

“ACCA is concerned at the continued uncertainty following this failed general election motion, and the potential further lack of clarity on the Government’s economic intentions should the planned budget due to be presented by the chancellor on November 6 not be brought forward.

“ACCA will continue to press for the certainty on both European and domestic matters that thousands of businesses of all sizes and in all sectors demand. It is imperative MPs use the latest extension period to get closure on Brexit and provide business with the certainty and confidence they need.”

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