ICAS: lack of audit, governance reform is inexcusable

Bruce Cartwright

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) has called for the next UK government to “urgently prioritise audit and corporate governance reform” in order to restore trust in business and protect people’s livelihoods.

The call came as part of ICAS’ five key asks for the next UK government “aimed at building a more sustainable, ethical, and stronger finance profession, to not only support the UK’s growth agenda, but also to ensure that a positive legacy is left for future generations.”

ICAS CEO Bruce Cartwright said: “We have seen an inexcusable lack of action from the UK government when it comes to audit and corporate governance reform, and we urge the next government to bring forward the legislation needed to tackle this issue head on.

“It’s too important to wait and incur even longer delays on this crucial issue of public trust.

“It’s been six years since the collapse of Carillion, followed by another major failure at Patisserie Valerie.

“And despite agreement across political parties, businesses and the accountancy profession that reform is needed, we have yet to see any real effort to tackle these issues.

“Corporate failures impact everyone, from shareholders and staff to suppliers and people’s pensions.

“And while they can’t be prevented, mechanisms can be put in place to make sure that when things do go wrong, contingency planning is improved and the opportunity to learn valuable lessons is increased.

“The public, as well as investors, need to be reassured that audit and corporate governance mechanisms are fit for purpose.”