The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has imposed a Severe Reprimand on Natasha Toy, a former Senior Manager (the Senior Manager) at Grant Thornton UK LLP (the Firm) in respect of Misconduct relating to the audit of the financial statements of Conviviality Retail Plc (the Company) for the year ended 30 April 2014 (the Audit).

The Senior Manager, who was initially part of the audit team assigned to the Audit, was seconded to the Company to assist with the preparation of its year-end financial statements.  This was contrary to requirements of standards designed to preserve the independence and objectivity of audit, given the threats to the Firm’s independence such circumstances posed. 

The Senior Manager transferred, and subsequently sought to remove, a four and a half hour time entry she had originally recorded on the Audit file.  She did this in order to conceal evidence of her involvement in both the Audit and subsequently the preparation of the Company’s accounts, being aware of the threats to independence which those matters had created.

The sanction imposed takes into account that the Senior Manager was acting under the instruction of the Audit Engagement Partner in transferring the time and that she believed she was following his instruction in attempting to subsequently remove the entry.  The FRC also recognises Ms Toy’s hitherto unblemished disciplinary record, her genuine contrition for the Misconduct and the exceptional level of cooperation she demonstrated during the course of the investigation.

The Settlement Agreement and Particulars of Fact and Acts of Misconduct, edited for publication, are published here and here.