The Accountant has sought to amalgamate different impressions and comments from the accounting profession following HM King Charles III first State Opening of Parliament. The speech, which marks the first King’s Speech in over 70 years, offered key insights into the Government’s agenda for the year to come.
This will be updated as more information is offered by firms, regulatory bodies, and professional bodies across the country.
In response to the Audit Reform Bill being excluded from the King’s Speech, Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors chief executive, Anne Kiem, said: “It is deeply disappointing that the Audit Reform Bill has been excluded from the King’s Speech. This legislation is urgently needed to put the audit regulator on a statutory footing with the legal powers it needs to hold company directors and audit firms to account when things go wrong.
“Corporate collapses linked to audit and governance weaknesses, such as BHS, Carillion, Patisserie Valerie, Thomas Cook and Wilko, have already cost tens of thousands of jobs, led to hundreds of retail store closures, hurt investors, cost people their pensions and impacted suppliers.
“This legislation was promised in the last Queen’s speech, so we had reasonably expected it to already have been delivered. That it won’t even be delivered in this Parliamentary session is astonishing. We need to safeguard our future economic prosperity by protecting jobs, growth and investors.”
Meanwhile, FRC CEO, Richard Moriarty, said: “We are pleased with the Government’s continued commitment to audit and corporate governance reform despite legislation to create ARGA not being included in the King’s speech today. The FRC will continue to utilise its current regulatory toolkit to support UK businesses to thrive, balancing the FRC’s public interest remit while promoting UK corporate growth and competitiveness in global capital markets.
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“That’s why, following the extensive consultation with stakeholders on the UK Corporate Governance Code, the FRC will be taking forward a focused number of proposals to strengthen corporate governance outcomes, improve internal controls and reduce reporting burden and duplication.”
Additionally, ICAEW chief executive, Michael Izza, concurred with Kiem’s statement, saying: “Carillion’s collapse almost six years ago marked a watershed moment for UK audit and corporate governance, but it appears that the government’s promise of comprehensive reform will remain unfulfilled due to a lack of political will.
“It is very disappointing that the audit and corporate governance bill is missing from the King’s Speech, leaving us with no realistic prospect that this key piece of primary legislation will happen before the next election. This comes hard on the heels of the government’s surprise decision last month to scrap new draft reporting regulations which the regulator and the accountancy profession had been working on for years.
“The attractiveness of the UK as a place to invest and do business is firmly based on the high quality of corporate transparency, governance, reporting and audit in this country. The government’s faint-hearted attitude to protecting and maintaining that reputation does the economy no favours.”