Audit / FTSE 100 and Big Four alumni survey 2018: who are the real power brokers?

Increasing focus on the quality of audit in the UK means that the Big Four audit firms are under severe pressure with threats of breakup and radical reform. In our exclusive annual FTSE 100 Big Four Alumni survey, Philip Smith analyses the inextricable link between UK boards and the top audit firms

Audit / Big Four alumni on FTSE boards hardly changed from 2017

Despite increased scrutiny, there is still an inextricable link between the boards of the FTSE 100 and the UK’s Big Four audit firms with almost two thirds of FTSE 100 CFOs and audit committee chairs being former partners or staff, according to Accountancy’s annual FTSE 100 and Big Four alumni survey

Audit / Corporate governance code for private companies published

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has published the final version of a new code for the corporate governance of large private companies, called the Wates principles, which can be used on an ‘apply or explain’ basis to meet new legal requirements and is intended to encourage greater transparency

Tax / CIOT president attacks loan charge legislation

The president of CIOT, Ray McCann, has told the Treasury sub-committee that the government’s approach to tackling disguised remuneration was ‘worse than retrospective legislation’ in that it removed the legal protections provided to taxpayers

Insight / Charity Commission alert on think tanks

The Charity Commission has issued an alert to remind trustees of their legal obligations and duties in relation to think tanks which have charitable status, pointing out that these are generally established for educational purposes and the charity must be politically neutral

Insight / Nissan and ex-chair face charges over pay reporting

Japanese car giant Nissan and its former chairman Carlos Ghosn and an adviser, representative director Greg Kelly, have been indicted for violating the Japan Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, by making false disclosures relating to the executive’s pay in annual securities reports

Insight / Value of FCA fines down 88% in a year

The value of fines handed down by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has decreased by 88% in a year, but fines for individuals have almost trebled on average, according to research from global law firm Clyde & Co

Insight / Quarter of UK workers not giving their best

UK workers are less enthusiastic about their work and less productive than their European counterparts, according to research from Deloitte which also found that almost half say their job has already been affected by automation

Insight / Outsourcer Interserve reports £600m debt

Fears are growing around the fate of Interserve, one of the biggest suppliers of services to the government, which is in financial crisis as it tries to renegotiate an estimated £600m of debt, with concerns it could collapse in a similar fashion to outsourcer Carillion

Insight / Deloitte fires 20 partners in four years

David Sproul, outgoing Deloitte senior partner and chief executive, has highlighted the need for ‘direct and visible action’ to ensure an inclusive culture within accountancy firms, after revealing about 20 UK partners have been fired over the past four years for inappropriate behaviour

Technical Alerts

7 Dec 2018

Insight / Grant Thornton fee income down 1.8% to £490m

Mid-tier firm Grant Thornton has reported a 1.8% drop in profits as fee income takes a hit due to continuing restructuring and hive-off of a failed IT infrastructure project, reports Sara White

Insight / Can accountancy firms challenge the legal profession?

As demand for legal services drives the Big Four to expand into the market, the mid-tier are slow to follow. Amy Austin, reporter at Accountancy Daily, investigates whether this shift from accountancy firms threatens the UK legal market

Tax / Self assessment tax returns and cash flow

As people get into the Christmas spirit, self-assessment taxpayers are facing the doom and gloom of 31st January 2019 tax bill but a cash flow benefit can be achieved by getting your tax return in early, says Paul Haywood-Schiefer, tax manager at Blick Rothenberg

Insight / People in the news: Kingston Smith, Grunberg & Co, BDO

Career news this week includes a partner in Kingston Smith’s professional firms and property team, Grunberg & Co welcomes eight appointments including two apprentices and an audit and accounts manager, BDO opens applications to recruit 450 trainees

Tax / CIOT warns Finance Bill tweaks damage confidence

CIOT has warned that a number of minor changes to Finance Bill 2018-19 (FB 2018-19) risk undermining the consistency depended on by taxpayers, reducing confidence and affecting international competitiveness

Insight / Serious mismanagement found at £34m charity

The Charity Commission has found serious mismanagement on the part of the former board of trustees of the charity MA 1985 (formerly Muslim Aid), including financial irregularities, according to the findings of an inquiry set up five years ago

Insight / Climate change to be key regulatory focus in 2019

The impact of climate change on financial services will be a new focus for regulators over the next twelve months, with 2019 marking a ‘seminal’ year as environmental risks come to the fore in reporting, according to analysis from Deloitte

Insight / Future accountants ‘not team players’

Accountants will need to become more opinionated and develop greater data and risk analysis skills if they want their careers to progress in future, while cultivating listening skills and being a team player are set to be less important, according to research from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)

Insight / ACCA signs three-year training deal with Vistra

ACCA has signed a three-year agreement with global trust, fund administration and corporate services provider Vistra, to help the company to recruit and develop key talent and to partner on events

Insight / Finance departments worldwide opt for AI

 A quarter of finance departments expect to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) by 2020 and half will also be using predictive analytics, according to a global survey of technology and finance by research and advisory company Gartner

Insight / PwC finds pension schemes shifting investment strategy

Four in five pension schemes believe they are likely to become cash flow negative within the next five years and are considering changing their investment strategy, according to research from PwC

Technical Alerts

6 Dec 2018

Tax / Walker: cost implications of digital services tax

The digital services tax (DST) announced in the Budget will lay a heavy compliance burden on businesses, especially when it comes to UK profit margins, argues Eloise Walker, partner at Pinsent Masons

Accounting / Fraud charges against Tesco directors dismissed

The trial of two former Tesco directors on charges of fraud and false accounting, related to the discovery of a £250m ‘black hole’ in the retailer’s accounts, has collapsed after the judge dismissed the case due to lack of evidence

Insight / Shareholder rebellion repeat offenders in spotlight

Three FTSE 100 heavyweights are among 32 companies to have received a letter from the Investment Association (IA) about potential governance failures, having appeared twice on the list of those who have experienced significant shareholder revolt on the same issue

Insight / Hammond admits two years to prepare for no deal

Appearing before the Treasury committee, Chancellor Philip Hammond discussed the potential impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and what preparations the Treasury and other government departments were making to reduce the impact on taxpayers

Insight / Nine-year ban for director over assets abuse

A businessman from Stirling has been banned for nine years for abusing a company’s assets by transferring them to help clear debts, after the company was wound up for non-payment of taxes

Tax / 37% of accountants stalling over MTD

A survey of tax professionals’ attitudes and company readiness for Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT shows that companies and accountants are lagging behind in their preparations and 70% are waiting for future announcements until they commit to a process

Tax / Call to rethink tax system to tackle climate change

In the week of the annual UN conference on climate change, ACCA is calling for governments to rethink the design of the tax system holistically in a bid to counter the impact of climate change on business and society, by increasing taxes on pollution and natural resource use

Insight / EU workers protected under no deal Brexit

The government has published a policy paper on its actions to protect citizens' rights in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal in March next year, which outlines its proposals for EU citizens currently living and working in the UK, as well as UK citizens based in the EU

Tax / Corporate taxes and VAT drive revenue spike

Tax revenues in advanced economies have continued to increase, with taxes on companies and personal consumption representing an increasing share of total government revenues, according to an annual review by the OECD

Audit / FRC calls for better front-end reporting

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has flagged up concerns about auditors’ work on the information in the front end of company reports, which it says does not meet the requirements of auditing standards consistently and should be given greater focus

Technical Alerts