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Audit & Conflicts of Interest

The UK’s audit watchdog, the Auditing Practices Board (APB) has issued its latest consultation paper with a view to updating its ethical guidelines on the vexed issue issue of auditor consultancy services.

In the UK regulatory construct, the audit is produced for the benefit of shareholders and consulting for the benefit of management. Investors have long been worried that pressure on audit partners to cross-sell commercial consulting contracts can impact the independence of the audit.

Under the draft proposals accounting firms will work under much tighter restrictions on selling additional advisory services, but some partners may be able to work with a large client for up to seven years.

Richard Fleck, Chairman of APB commented: “In setting the Ethical Standards APB strives to achieve the right balance between the need for auditor objectivity and the interests of different stakeholder groups. Consultation is a vital mechanism for us in this regard and I hope that investors and companies will send us their views as well as auditors.”

The APB will be accepting comment letters up to 15th June 2009.

Links

Auditing Practices Board Consultation >>

What do you think?