Grand Thornton Frustrated by Audit Debate

Lucas Gilmore, “Big 4″ observer
October 18, 2010 /

Scott Barnes, CEO of Grand Thornton said today that the firm feels frustrated that regulators have not tackle the issue of lack of choice in the large audit market yet. He said that it was due to the regulators that this issue has not been tackled yet.

In an interview with the Accountancy magazine, Scott Barnes said that the issue keeps getting talked about regularly but there is a failure of debate around it. He also said that not a lot of things get proposed on how to actually deal with the issue.

Barnes also said that in his view, if the audit regulators believe that there is a particular issue cropping up on the scene time and again, then it is up to them to decide what to do about it, and then get it done.

Barnes said: ‘To the extent they’ve tried to do things, they’ve self-evidently failed previously.’

When asked about what he felt his firm’s position was, which is one of the Big 10 as far as auditing is concerned, Barnes was quick to say that he was relaxed about where they were. He also mentioned that even if the regulators did not do anything about the lack of choice in the audit market, then his firm had its own strategy to deal with it and that it will move on.

Barnes made it clear during the interview that his concern was not about where his firm stood at the moment, but what would happen if the Big 4 turned into the Big 3. He said that it would be “carnage”.

When asked whether audit firms should have a cap on the number of companies they are allowed to audit, Barnes was sarcastic and said that it might work.


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