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Accountancy and Auditing Standards

Volume 568: debated on Thursday 10 October 2013

4. What steps the Public Accounts Commission is taking to encourage improvements in the quality and standard of training in the accountancy and audit professions. (900317)

The Public Accounts Commission has a number of statutory functions in respect of the National Audit Office, including approving its corporate strategy, agreeing and laying its estimate and appointing non-executive members of the NAO board. Naturally we have no direct responsibility for training, but we always press the NAO to fulfil fully its obligations on training.

I am sure the hon. Gentleman is aware that many of us who had employees in the banking sector and friends who had a stake in the banking sector were horrified by the lack of ethics of the accountancy profession when it came to the basic job of auditing the banks and auditing other big corporations where they did it badly. Surely we should speak up through the Commission about ethics, responsibility and moral certitude in accountancy.

That is a very interesting question but it is rather wide of our responsibilities. I wish we had those responsibilities, but we are responsible only for the budget and the annual report of the National Audit Office, which audits accounts in the public, not the private, sector, so I am sorry I cannot do more for the hon. Gentleman.