A once in a generation opportunity for audit and corporate governance transformation

The release of the BEIS White Paper in March 2021 signalled a once in a generation opportunity to transform audit and strengthen corporate governance in the UK. A consultation followed and the themes were echoed in the transcript of the Queen’s Speech in May 2022. We now await a draft Bill, expected in 2023/4.
There is widespread consensus that the audit sector is not reaching its potential, and that previous attempts at reform have been ineffective. And the impact of audit is wide-ranging. Trust in the quality of audit underpins confidence in UK business, the money invested in listed firms by private and institutional investors, and the livelihoods of the people who work in the audited companies.
In these pages we examine the recommendations of the BEIS report, discuss the key areas highlighted for reform and consider the wider implications.

At Mazars we are committed to making the requisite investment to participate in a reformed market, as well as working with other firms, boards and audit committees, professional bodies, regulators and broader stakeholders to achieve meaningful and long-lasting reform in a number of key areas, including:

  • The Big 4 and challenger firms working together on FTSE350 audits
  • Renewing the scope of audit, to cover areas such as sustainability and regulation
  • Enhancing audit regulation with a focus on prevention and improvement
  • Support for a proportionate strengthening of reporting on controls 
  • A measured approach to extending the scope of PIEs to large private companies 

A series of insights, videos and full details of our response to the consultation can be found above.

Our Head of Audit, David Herbinet, comments:

"We now have a once in a generation opportunity to transform audit and renew the broader corporate governance system in order to strengthen resilience within our leading companies and on our capital markets. We must seize it. The UK’s post-pandemic recovery, and the ability for our companies to flourish on the global stage, hinge on the effectiveness with which we support UK businesses to achieve their full potential and to report on their progress a fair and balanced way. Promoting the right balance between entrepreneurship and accountability, which is the essence of good governance, should be the Government’s primary focus as it determines the way ahead." 

For more information

If you would like to discuss any aspect of audit and governance reform with a member of our team, do not hesitate to contact us.  

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