Accountancy networks JHI International and
IEC have joined the Forum of Firms (FoF), taking the overall forum
membership to 21 full members.

IEC has 50 firms in 41 countries and JHI
International has 130 firms in 55 countries.

JHI International executive committee chairman
Mark Tenzer, of the UK firm Jeffreys Henry, said forum membership
will enhance the association’s profile internationally.

“We’re hoping to attract more international
auditing work,” Tenzer said. “The full membership adds credibility
both to JHI and our firm. We hope it will put us in considerations
above other networks or firms that aren’t part of this group to
promote consistent, high-quality standards of financial reporting
and auditing practices worldwide. We have embraced the high quality
and ethics standards required of forum members.”

Tenzer added that JHI has formed a separate
sub-committee to monitor firms that undertake transnational audit
work. He said this applies to between 35 and 40 JHI members. This
monitoring programme will involve periodic peer reviews and other
initiatives.

IEC chairman Michel De Wolf said joining the
forum sends a message to the market that the network is serious
about audit quality.

“We are very aware of the changing world where
quality audit matters so we were always convinced only high-quality
firms will survive in the audit world in the future,” he said.

De Wolf predicted that forum membership will
not have an immediate effect on member firms but the increase in
audit quality will eventually lead to higher confidence among firms
and clients.

The forum, affiliated with the International
Federation of Accountants, is made up of international accounting
networks. In order to become members, networks must implement a
globally co-ordinated quality control programme to ensure member
firms have audit policies and methodologies based on International
Standards of Auditing. Firms must be inspected by regulators to
ensure they meet the requirements.

FoF chairman David Maxwell said going concern
is high on the agenda of the forum’s Transnational Audit Committee
(TAC).

“This is a key area and people need to
understand the risks,” Maxwell explained. “The ability to predict
performance, the availability of finance, the ability for people to
stay within their covenant and the strength of the client market
their companies are working to, is very important.

“At a global level, we will make sure people
understand what the impact of disclosures would and wouldn’t be and
what the impact of a qualification would and wouldn’t be. We need
to make sure the regulators understand what it means and that the
market and funders also understand this.”