5 things that mattered this week 24/6
The auditing work of one of the world’s “Big Four” accounting firms was sharply criticised by the industry’s watchdog. KPMG audits had shown an “unacceptable deterioration” and will be subject to closer supervision, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said. The FRC added all the Big Four – which also include PwC, EY and Deloitte – needed to reverse a decline. KPMG said it was “disappointed” and was taking steps to improve audit quality.
FDs must expect challenge
Finance directors and their companies need to be expecting and welcoming a greater amount of challenge from auditors, Mike Suffield of the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) Audit Quality Review told Financial Director.
The government’s Brexit bill passed through Parliament after Theresa May saw off a revolt by Tory MPs. Peers accepted the amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill sent to them from the House of Commons, meaning the bill now goes for Royal Assent, becoming law. The government won the vote 319 to 303, after assurances were accepted by would-be rebels that MPs would have a meaningful say in the process.
Airbus talks of flight
European aerospace company Airbus warned it could leave the UK if it exits the European Union single market and customs union without a transition deal. The group, which employs 14,000 people across the UK, said the warning was not part of “project fear”, but was a “dawning reality”.
Airbus said if the UK left the EU next year without a deal – meaning it left both the single market and customs union immediately and without any agreed transition – it would “lead to severe disruption and interruption of UK production”.
Politicians back business
In a speech in the City of London, the Chancellor said the UK needed to protect patterns of trade with the EU that had been “built over decades”. Addressing a City audience on Thursday, Mr Hammond said the “immediate key” to the UK and London’s economic success was “ensuring we get a good Brexit deal”.
Meanwhile, Business Secretary Greg Clark said services must be part of any Brexit deal with the EU and issued a series of demands. He said UK employees servicing EU customers must be allowed to travel just as ‘frictionlessly’ as the goods that have dominated the negotiations so far.