The future of audit – a conversation with Sir Jonathan Thompson

We are delighted to be joined by Sir Jonathan Thompson to talk to us about the Government’s consultation on the Future of Audit, and what the future of UK audit regulation might look like.

On 18 March, the Government’s consultation on the Future of Audit landed in our inboxes with a resounding, if virtual, thud. Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance is a 232 page document, containing 98 questions, covering a wide range of issues relating to: directors accountability; internal controls; dividends and capital maintenance; supervision of corporate reporting; the purpose and scope of audit; audit committee oversight; choice in the audit market (including proposals for joint audits); supervision of audit quality; and changes to the role of the regulator. The consultation is supported by a 210 page impact assessment and a 30 page supplementary publication on review recommendations.

This is one of the most significant consultations in the governance arena for some time and brings together the Government’s response to the more than 150 recommendations from three separate reviews of audit and the audit market in recent years: the independent review of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) by Sir John Kingman in December 2018; the independent review of the quality and effectiveness of audit by Sir Donald Brydon in December 2019; and the Competition and Markets Authority’s statutory audit services market study published in April 2019.

The Government’s proposals include new measures in relation to directors, auditors and audit firms, shareholders and the audit regulator, and “are focused on the largest companies because that is where there is greatest public interest in ensuring that audit and corporate reporting are functioning effectively”.

We are delighted to be joined by Sir Jonathan Thompson, CEO of the Financial Reporting Council and CEO-designate of it’s replacement body, the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA) to talk to us about the consultation and what the future of UK audit regulation might look like.

Speaker

Sir Jonathan Thompson, CEO, Financial Reporting Council

Prior to joining the FRC Jon was the CEO of HMRC the UK Tax Authority, collecting more than £625billion, employing more than 65,000 people and driving reform of the UK tax system. Before HMRC, Jon was Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, jointly leading the £36bn organisation with the Chief of the Defence Staff. 

Jon has had a lengthy finance career including as Director General, Finance at the MoD, Director General, Corporate Services at the Department for Education and Finance Director of Ofsted. Before joining the Civil Service in 2004 Jon held a number of corporate services and finance roles in the public and corporate sectors.

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