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11 Aug 2020

Research raises concerns about the pitfalls of company audits & makes the case for reforming audits in the public interest

Research on 'Auditing with Accountability' conducted by the University of Sheffield and Copenhagen Business School, funded by Luminate, raises concerns around the pitfalls of (financial/company) audits and makes the case for reforming these audits in the public interest. The research focuses on the "accountability gap" between "what the wider public might legitimately expect auditors to do and what the audit process currently delivers."

In a commentary based on the research report, Luminate welcomes its publication and claims that "[a]ll of the major professional services firms have been accused of facilitating a range of illegal and unethical practices including tax evasion, money-laundering, and state capture." The research also points to  "ongoing concerns about the decline of judgement and scepticism in the audit process, the conflicts of interest between consulting and auditing roles... and... the location of auditing within an architecture of impoverished checks and balances..."

Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC are mentioned as the "Big Four" accounting firms dominating audit of major international companies. We asked Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC to respond to the concerns, but they did not do so.



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Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

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EY (Ernst & Young)

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