By Helen Brennan, Audit Director at KPMG in the UK
The question of how best to achieve engagement between investors in and managers of listed companies is as old as the limited company itself. But the question of who or what is an investor is more pivotal. The increase in intermediation – funds, asset-managers, custodians – has the end result that the ultimate providers of finance may be transitory, have differing objectives from each other and/or be unknown to management.
By Tim Copnell, Chairman of the UK Audit Committee Institute
Non-executive directors are expected to develop strategy and ensure the robustness of executive decisions. But they need to be recruited on the basis of their skills and behaviour not just their gender, ethnicity or social profile.
By John Hughes, Audit Partner at KPMG in the UK
The traditional model of stewardship has taken a knock since the financial crisis. But it’s no good just blaming companies and non-execs. Society should recognise there are deeper problems that need solving.
By Hugh Green, Audit Partner at KPMG in the UK
It’s fine for big organisations to comply fully with the UK Corporate Governance Code, but more entrepreneurial businesses should have the courage to explain why it doesn’t always work for them.
By Tony Cates, UK Head of Audit at KPMG
Much of the hoped-for debate around the future of corporate reporting is not about what is disclosed but about how it is disclosed and by whom. Indeed, you can’t expect good corporate reporting if the process is faulty. In other words, good governance is a prerequisite of good disclosure. We would argue that the process needs to change because the demands made upon preparers and auditors are changing.
By John Griffith-Jones, UK Chairman of KPMG LLP
When the European Union launched its plans to reform the audit market across 27 countries, the proposals referenced the word ‘quality’ no less than 113 times. Robust audits were held to be the key to re-establishing trust and market confidence following the 2008 financial crisis.
By Oliver Tant, UK Head of Audit
I was interested to hear last week that the team behind New Scientist have launched a journal, Arc, focussing on what science and science-fiction can tell us about the future. The editor of the first edition, Simon Ings, wrote in his blog: “We wanted to get past sterile ‘visions’ and dream up futures that evoke textures and flavours and passions.” At a time when the professional services industry, in particular the auditing profession, is contemplating an uncertain future, I share Simon Ing’s desire to stimulate an appetising discussion on what lies ahead. Here are some of the issues I’m aiming to look at in more depth in future blog posts:
By Oliver Tant, UK Head of Audit
I was delighted to hear that, having been shortlisted for the fourth time, Julian Barnes has been awarded the Man Booker Prize for The Sense of an Ending. It was described on the shortlist as “A truly wonderful novel that will have the reader immersed in the story from the very first page.” I don’t get a lot of time to read for pleasure, though I do spend an awful lot of time reading – it’s unavoidable, because listed companies’ annual reports get longer every year.
By John Griffith-Jones, UK Chairman
From my perspective, there are two things that are dominating my days. On the one hand there is the continuing unsettled state of the Eurozone and the financial markets; on the other, the proposals around the future of our profession.