Accountancy Age, Accountancy Age, Monday 7 June 2010 at 08:49:00

Business secretary under pressure to reveal what the plan is for audit

PwC's UK chief has called on business secretary Vince Cable to explain hisintentions for audit and financial reporting.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Ian Powell is quoted saying thefirm would like to work with Cable on future plans and "talk through" some ofthe issues.

Powell adds that "we need to know what the ground rules are, if you like,around audit reporting and his aspirations for the future."

Cable was reported during the General Election campaign saying he had askedthe Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to examine the Big Four firms and the role ofMagic Circle law firms.

Since becoming business secretary and part of the coalition government Cablehas been silent on the issue but the profession has been waiting for someadditional indication of what will happen. In previous comments Cable hasindicated his belief that there is not enough competition at the top end ofaudit.

Members of the largest firms outside the Big Four have signaled their welcomefor Cable's interest in the competition issue.

Last week the Financial Reporting Council reported that efforts to improveaudit choice, or open up large public company audits to firms outside the BigFour have so far failed. A report from the FRC said the watchdog would now spendthe next six months considering whether a fresh set of measures was needed.

FRC chief Stephen Haddrill has indicated in past interviews that his interestwas not necessarily in expanding choice, but that may change with Cable at thehead of the business department.

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Cablecabinet role fuels audit debate

Measuresto open up audit market have so far failed