Published on 17th December 2019
This Christmas time, the ghost of Audit future looms large over practices.
The FRC is still on course to double its headcount in just two years since the Kingsman report and it’s not shy of flexing this newfound muscle, having just yesterday fined Grant Thornton over half a million pounds for a poor quality audit.
What’s interesting about this fine is that the FRC does not believe the financial statements need re-stating or that the mistake was “intentional, dishonest or deliberate”. A £650,000 fine for an issue of methodology, for selecting an insufficient sample size, really shows that the FRC is serious about raising audit standards.
With this increased motivation to provide a high standard audit, we’re expecting a rise in the already high demand for auditors. In order to ensure that the audit passes inspection firms have a pressing need to make sure that their audit engagements are fully staffed. Overworked auditors are being pulled in several directions due to understaffed teams is a significant cause of these errors. There are only so many hours for sampling in a day.
Challenger firms are bulking their audit teams in expectation of changes to shake up the marketplace. The traditional busy season rush is fast approaching as teams realise they’re not quite as well-resourced as they hoped. All these factors are combining to create a sky-high demand for auditors, especially here in London.
Over Q1 of 2020, I’d expect a good candidate to be sitting on two or three offers within a fortnight.
The key to making hires during this time is speed. Particularly for any level below assistant manager, it should be a one stage process. Some firms seem to think that a quick process is inherently a less thorough process, but this isn’t true. Partner with a recruiter who understands audit, understands your firm and understands the market and a lot of the due diligence will be done for you.
That way you can rest assured that you are seeing the best candidates out there and can focus on making sure the cultural fit is there.
As always, if you’d like to discuss, please get in touch.
by Alexander Edwards