PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

  1. Auditors 'cannot be relied on to do the right thing'

    Thomas Cook workers demand their pay

    Will EY and PwC do anything differently in light of Thomas Cook's collapse, asks committee head Rachel Reeves?

    She has to ask representative from the firms a few times.

    Richard Wilson says they have to follow the rules at EY.

    Paul Cragg at PwC is more explicit: "No. I think that we constructively challenged [Thomas Cook bosses]."

    "I think the last thing the accountancy and audit industry wants to do is to reform," concludes Ms Reeves. "We can't rely on you to do the right thing and regulation is needed."

  2. Auditors face greater scrutiny

    KPMG

    Britain's beancounters are facing tighter controls after a series of auditing scandals.

    The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said UK auditors will need to follow "significantly stronger requirements" than current international standards.

    The UK's big four auditing firms - PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and EY - have all faced questions after the collapse of firms such as Carillion and Patisserie Valerie.

    Auditors must now show greater work to "robustly challenge management's assessment of going concern, thoroughly test the adequacy of the supporting evidence, evaluate the risk of management bias and make greater use of the viability statement", the FRC said.

    The revised standard also requires improved transparency with "a new reporting requirement for the auditor of public interest entities, listed and large private companies to provide a clear, positive conclusion on whether management's assessment is appropriate".

  3. PwC wins Northern Rock contract

    Northern Rock

    There's an interesting story in the Financial Times this morning about the fact that PwC has been awarded a £16.5m contract to manage the government's remaining assets in Northern Rock despite the accountancy firm being accused of complacency in its audits of the bank when it collapsed in 2007.

    PwC was criticised for failing to highlight the riskiness of Northern Rock's business model, the failure of which sparked the first run on a UK bank in 150 years and led to a government rescue.

  4. Sports Direct auditor search: excuses, excuses?

    Sports Direct shop front

    No wonder Sports Direct wanted Grant Thornton to stay on for at least another year as it auditor - its search for a new firm isn't going too well.

    In its annual report it said that its early discussions with the "big four" - KPMG, PwC, Deloitte and EY - "have thrown up some barriers"

    • Deloitte does tax compliance and advisory work so for Sports Direct so "cannot perform audit work at the same time".
    • KPMG has "indicated conflicts of interest based on an existing portfolio of clients". But Sports Direct says: "We do not believe based on our understanding of big four independence procedures that this is insurmountable."
    • EY, the retailer says, is reluctant to be Sports Direct's auditor because it acted as administrator to House of Fraser which the retailer rescued last year.
    • And PwC "has had some widely publicised fines in recent years and we understand there is a reluctance to engage based on our ownership structure".

    Sports Direct is non-plussed.

    It notes "that companies with supposed strong levels of corporate governance consisting of huge boards, many board meetings and management packs in the tens and hundreds, which the big four have been more than happy to audit, for instance Debenhams or Carillion, have been shown to be seriously lacking in what should be important to investors, and indeed auditors, transparency, true and fair accounts, and realistic communications and expectations to the market".