Just one year ago the Competition and Markets Authority proposed reforms that mandate all FTSE350 companies tender their audit services every ten years; and in April 2014, this reform was also passed by the European Parliament. The new rules also require Public Interest Entities (PIEs) to change auditor every 20 years.
The traditional way to explain the role of an auditor is that they’re a watchdog, not a bloodhound. They keep an eye on what’s happening, sit up when something looks suspicious and occasionally bark when they see something dodgy. The job is explicitly not turning over every rock they can find to test ethics or legality - no bloodhounds chasing the bad guys through the woods here.
Tender touches for better audits - five recommendations
Following new regulations and a deep desire to restore lost public faith in business, audit is making a conceptual comeback. The European Commission’s new rules on mandatory tendering for audit every ten years (along with increased scrutiny; demands for transparency in the audit process; and controls on what other work your auditor can do) make the process of choosing and contracting and auditor incredibly important.
Infographic: Accountants warn on audit market reforms
When analysing the current FTSE 350’s use of audit services, our research highlights the impact of the Competition and Markets Authority’s reform on the UK audit market – finding that there is more happening under the surface than meets the eye...
In 1596 Shakespeare wrote the Merchant of Venice - a play in which a young Venetian merchant, named Antonio, signs an interest-free loan to help his friend, Bassanio, romantically court (with lots of money) Portia, the woman of his dreams. The catch is that if Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock (the financier in this scenario) has the right to take a literal “pound of flesh”.
The headline on a capital markets report looking at bond yields was worrying: “Canary in the coalmine”. Canaries were useful to miners because, although small, they sing sweetly until they get a whiff of gas and then they abruptly stop singing. The miners say a short prayer for the little bird, then get out as fast as they can.
Whilst the Deloitte list highlights some of the important issues, we’ve reached out to our own network (of client teams and readers) and come up with five additional issues that are most likely to make their way to the top of the CFO’s agenda over the second half of 2014.
It’s striking how many CFOs count leadership of a cost saving programme as a major part of their role. There’s nothing wrong with making procurement more efficient and streamlining the cost base, of course. But the best finance functions treat it as part of their commercial contribution, not a traditional bit of hard-nosed accounting.
Proxima appointed by SAV Credit on five-year outsourcing contract
LONDON, UK - February 3, 2014 - Proxima, the global procurement services provider, announces today that it has been appointed on a five-year contract to manage external supplier costs and relationships for SAV Credit.
The Competition Commission and statutory audit – a lot of sense and sensibility – part 2
Our previous post discussed three of the seven remedies that the competition commission proposed as part of their ruling around statutory audit rotation. In this post, part two of this mini-series, Proxima's Richard James and Guy Strafford will look at the remaining four remedies and some key questions finance / procurement teams and audit committees should be asking when tendering this high profile service.
The Competition Commission and statutory audit – a lot of sense and sensibility – part 1
The verdict is in, judgement is pronounced.
The Competition Commission (CC) has delivered its final ruling on the market for statutory audit services in the UK, amending its remedies from the provisional ruling announced a couple of months back (here are our comments from July) and the reaction from the industry is generally positive.
So, after months of deliberation and consultation, the Competition Commission published its provisional decision on the remedies relating to the market for statutory audit services. But will this really achieve the CCs laudable objectives to improve quality and broaden the competitive market for statutory audit?
Audit tendering may not turn out as hoped without some market change
The FRC and Competition Commission are causing change in the audit market, and when combined with pressure from the corporate governance teams of the largest investors, there is now real impetus for change.
How to avoid value-erosion and cost-leakage in Financial Services
Cost management and 'cost-out' is critical for any business. As such, cost as a metric will always be near the top of the agenda for any business assessing the performance of their procurement or sourcing function. However, driving costs out of a business is not a one-off project - it's a continuous, evolving process.
Banks seek agility, transparency and transformation from procurement
Procurement adds value by offering transparency into where and how a business spends it's money. But when it offers "an understanding of what is driving a particular spend pattern where the demand is coming from and how can it be managed effectively," it can really start to deliver both strategic and tactical benefits.
There are some strict rules about the scope and execution of statutory audit. Things undoubtedly got tougher for the profession in the wake of the Enron scandal that brought down its auditor, Andersen. But interestingly, while there are now stricter rules around auditor independence from management and limits on non-audit services an auditor can provide, many of the issues that scarred audit then still linger.
The world of audit is in a state of flux. For a start, the long-standing grumbles about the Big Four (Deloitte, E&Y, KPMG and PwC) dominance in the world of corporate auditing has resulted in debates about regulatory reform domestically and in Europe. Even the Competition Commission is getting in on the act.
Regulatory forces are the most obvious driver of change in financial services. There is no doubt that the Mortgage Market Review, Basel III, the Independent Commission on Banking, the Retail Distribution Review and other regulatory factors have added substantial cost and complexity to running bank operations.
Following on from a previous post on this topic, the Shareholder Spring should turn its attention away from executive pay, and towards an area that has a far greater opportunity to improve profitability and shareholder returns - third party costs.
ING Direct: Refocusing on the core - a CFO perspective
Feike Brouwers (FB), former Chief Financial Officer for ING Direct discusses his role in bringing the distressed UK business back afloat during the financial crisis, Barclay's acquisition of ING Direct and how cost management is a top priority for all involved in financial services.
Achieving higher ROI with fewer people at AXA insurance
Stephen Wills [SW], Director of Group Procurement at AXA Insurance discusses how strategic business partnering allowed AXA to achieve more savings as a ROI year-on-year, while reducing absolute head count.
Supply Management: Bank charges should face procurement’s scrutiny
The amount paid to bankers will continue to be a hot topic while we wait for more of the banks to report their 2010 results. But less time is spent on why investment banks in particular continue to be able to pay large bonuses, and the implications for UK and global plc.