February 5, 2020 / 7:42 AM / 14 days ago

British accounting watchdog plans hiring drive to boost oversight of audit firms

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s accounting watchdog, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), announced plans on Wednesday for a hiring drive to strengthen its oversight of audit firms.

The FRC said it plans to recruit more than 100 staff including lawyers and forensic accountants to speed up its enforcement investigations.

The watchdog also plans to extend its monitoring of auditing companies from the big four accountants to smaller firms, while it also wants to increase the number of audit quality and corporate reporting reviews it conducts by 25%.

The expansion will mean an increase in levies on audit members to 47.2 million pounds ($61.41 million) from 41.7 million pounds, the watchdog said.

Consultation on the plan and budget will run until Feb. 28.

British lawmakers are planning legislation to toughen up supervision of accountants after the high-profile collapses of builder Carillion and retailer BHS undermined trust in auditing.

Reporting by Iain Withers; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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