Challenging and potentially transformational CMA recommendations to shake-up audit

National audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe supports the boldness of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) challenging yet potentially transformational recommendations to address competition and choice in the audit market.

The CMA’s recommendations include the operational split of the Big Fours’ audit work, more choice to increase resilience by introducing mandatory joint audit, regulation of UK companies’ audit committees and a five year review of progress by the regulator.

As one of the “challenger firms”, Crowe, which is the UK member of the eighth largest accounting network in the world, has played an active role in the debate around audit quality and choice.

In Crowe’s formal responses to CMA papers in recent months, the firm stressed the need to address some of the barriers to entry and expansion in the market for non-Big Four firms. Crowe supports, therefore, the CMA’s recommendation to introduce mandatory joint audits for the FTSE 350.

Crowe also welcomes the proposal for increased regulatory scrutiny of the operation of audit committees, including a focus on ensuring the audit committees report appropriately how they appoint auditors and engage with their work.

Nigel Bostock, Chief Executive, Crowe, said: “Crowe recognises change is needed if the profession is to rebuild public trust in audit and we support the CMA’s efforts and recommendations.

“An environment of transparent financial reporting, high quality audit, and strong and effective regulation is essential for the success of the UK economy.

“We are pleased that the CMA’s recommendations focus on addressing the issues where there has been most concern and have avoided unintended or, indeed, unnecessary consequences for those parts of the audit market that are functioning well.

“The CMA recognises the importance of firms having multi-disciplinary operations and we are pleased that they do not recommend the creation of audit-only firms.”

Steve Gale, Head of Audit at Crowe, said: “We are pleased that the CMA has proposed mandatory joint audits for the larger, listed companies. It is clear that audit firms outside of the Big Four have found it difficult not only to be appointed as auditors but even to be considered. Mandatory joint audit provides the chance for challenger firms to demonstrate their capability and quality.

“Joint audit can help dispel the perception of a cosy relationship between the Big Four auditor and management, as the major issues will need to be considered by both auditors and they will need to come to a joint and agreed opinion.

“We are under no illusion though that firms will have to ‘step up to the plate’. There will be huge scrutiny on the audit quality reviews of the joint audits to see if the quality of the audit improves. That should be the output and must be the key focus of all firms involved.”

Matthew Stallabrass, Head of Listed Companies at Crowe, said: “The CMA proposals will give challenger firms access to the boardrooms of the largest companies in the UK and a real opportunity to demonstrate their skills and the value they can add.

“There is an opportunity for audit committees to demonstrate their confidence in the non Big Four firms as a joint audit will not be required if they appoint a challenger firm as sole auditor.

“We welcome the measures being proposed by the CMA to provide regulatory scrutiny of the audit committees, acknowledging the importance of the role they play throughout the audit process from hiring auditors to providing robust and constructive challenge to the accounting practices of their companies.”

For more information on Crowe, please visit: www.crowe.co.uk

‘Black Country Hub’ move for Thursfields in Halesowen as income more than quadruples

Thursfields Solicitors has revealed plans to move into a modern property to be known as the ‘Black Country Hub’ after quadrupling income at its Halesowen office since 2014.

The leading Midlands law firm will relocate from Hyefield House on the Hagley Road to Neville House in Steelpark Road on 7 May to accommodate its growing team and to become a coordination centre for its other offices in the area.

The move comes as turnover at the Halesowen office has grown by well over 300% between the 2013/14 and 2017/8 tax years, with further growth expected this year.

In that time, the team has increased to over 30, with the most recent starter being Philip Chapman who joined Thursfields as a corporate lawyer from Wall James Chappell at the beginning of February.

Jane Rudge, director of Thursfields’ Corporate & Commercial department and heading the company’s Black Country operations, said: “We’re really looking forward to moving into our new, modern offices in Halesowen as they will give us the ability to continue what has been phenomenal growth in the last five years.

“We’ve enjoyed our time in Hyefield House but were keen to move into the smart, recently refurbished premises offered by Neville House which will allow us to focus on our growth to become the Black Country Hub, delivering high quality legal services across the region.”

Mrs Rudge explained that Thursfields’ move was driven by the need to have a modern, impressive base “to match our future requirements”.

She added: “We are now busy having the new 4,833 sq ft offices at Neville House fitted out to cope with our planned growth.

“We plan to continue expanding, reaching out to customers across the Black Country to provide a big firm service from a local solicitor.”

The Halesowen expansion into new offices comes as Thursfields continues to grow its reputation, winning the ‘Family Law Firm of the Year’ award for the Midlands region at the national Family Law Awards in 2018.

Thursfields has leased the Neville House premises from landlords Neville Registrars.

Ends (339 words)

For further information, please contact:

Dani James, Business Development Manager, Thursfields Solicitors

Email: djames@thursfields.co.uk Tel: 01905 677066

Or

Steve Dyson at ASAP PR – 0781 8004575.

www.thursfields.co.uk, Twitter – @Thursfields, LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/company/thursfields

Notes to Editors

Thursfields Solicitors is one of the region’s longest established and reputable law firms, with more than 150 staff in eight offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands. Thursfields Solicitors provides a full range of legal services to business and the private individual, including property, family, employment and commercial law as well as probate and litigation. The firm has offices in Worcester, Kidderminster, Halesowen, Sedgley, Stourport-on-Severn, Solihull and Birmingham.

Crowe advises on Pet Cremation Services’ latest deal

National audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe has advised on the latest acquisition by Northampton-based Pet Cremation Services (PCS).

PCS has acquired Norfolk Pet Crematorium in its seventh acquisition since 2015. The addition of the Norfolk business brings PCS to 15 sites across the UK.

PCS, the trading name of Time Right Ltd, was established in 1989, and since the introduction of a private equity partner in 2015, the business has grown from nine branches to 15, including one in the USA.

Glenn Tuck, managing director of PCS, said: “Our desire to grow coincided with the decision of the shareholders of Norfolk Pet Crematorium, Ken and Susan Bernard Smith, to retire.

“This is a deal that works well for both parties, and we are pleased to have added Norfolk into our network of sites.”

Andy Kay, corporate finance partner at Crowe, who advised PCS along with associate director Chasz Coulsting, said: “We have worked with Glenn and his team to develop and implement their plans for expansion to build a significant sized business.”

Johnathan Dudley, Crowe’s managing partner for the Midlands region, said: “This acquisition concludes an excellent year for Crowe’s corporate finance team in the Midlands, having advised on around 20 transactions in the last 12 months. The pipeline is healthy going into the next financial year and we look forward to a strong 2020.”

PCS was advised by Neil Jones of Ansons Solicitors and Norfolk Pet Crematorium was advised by Mills & Reeve.

Ends (246 words)

Contacts:

 Miriam Sherwood, Senior Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe UK. Tel: 0121 543 1900

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK


Crowe industry recognition

    • 11th largest firm in the UK by fee income (International Accounting Bulletin UK Survey, December 2018).
    • Top charity auditor for 10 consecutive years (Charity Finance and Charity Financials Audit Survey, 2009 – 2019)
  • Leading advisors to the UK mid-market, ranked 8th AIM and Main Market auditor (Corporate Adviser Rankings Guide, 2019)
  • 9th largest audit firm in the UK (FRC Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, July 2018)

 

  • Best Human Capital/Employment Tax Practice (Taxation Awards, 2018).

Crowe UK celebrates year of growth

Crowe UK celebrates year of growth

Crowe UK is celebrating a very strong year for revenue growth. The firm’s approach to client service excellence and focus on the specific needs of the markets in which it operates, further reinforces Crowe’s position as a recognised leader in the UK for audit, tax advisory and risk services.

As reported in the International Accounting Bulletin World Survey published in February, Crowe UK, the UK member firm of Crowe Global, saw double-digit revenue growth.

This leap follows a successful global rebrand in 2018 and further increasing its offering across its sectors and service lines to deliver a quality service to its clients that is seamless and responsive to the market place, wherever they choose to operate.

Johnathan Dudley, Regional Managing Partner in Crowe’s Midlands office, said: “Our clients across the West Midlands clearly welcome the twin benefits of local advice with global reach. Businesses across the region are increasingly viewing the post-Brexit landscape as an opportunity to reach out not only into Europe but also to examine the potential of other markets across the world.

“We are ideally placed to advise and help them achieve their goals.”

Crowe Global meanwhile consolidated its position as the eighth largest accounting network in the world, with firms across the network also seeing strong performances. As a whole, the network reported increased revenues of 14% to USD 4.3 billion.

Nigel Bostock, Chief Executive at Crowe UK, said: “We keep our clients at the heart of everything we do, and it is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of all of our people that we are recognised for the trusted advice we provide.

“2018 was a year of many successes for Crowe in the UK. Not only did we celebrate our 175th anniversary as a firm, but we also came together under the one global ‘Crowe’ brand, further strengthening our position as market leaders. These figures published today support our position of operating as a national firm with global reach and local expertise.”

David Mellor, CEO at Crowe Global, said: “The headline figures – in particular double-digit growth across the network – speak for themselves and should be celebrated. We are immensely proud of the work we have done throughout 2018 in a rapidly-evolving marketplace and are already building on those successes as 2019 gets underway.

“The past year has been a period of significant change for Crowe and we have sought to position ourselves for continued future growth through investment in our people, as well as in processes and technology. It is pleasing to see the numbers reinforce the positivity we see around the network on a daily basis.”

The IAB World Survey is published each year, which analyses the performance of the world’s top 40 accounting networks and associations.

For more information on Crowe, please visit: www.crowe.co.uk

Ends

Contacts:

 

Miriam Sherwood, Marketing Manager (Regions), Crowe UK. Tel: 0121 543 1900

 

Notes to Editors:

About us
Crowe is a national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm offering global reach and local expertise. We are an independent member of Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world. With exceptional knowledge of the business environment, our professionals share one commitment, to deliver excellence.

We are trusted by thousands of clients for our specialist advice, our ability to make smart decisions and our readiness to provide lasting value. Our broad technical expertise and deep market knowledge means we are well placed to offer insight and pragmatic advice to all the organisations and individuals with whom we work. Close working relationships are at the heart of our effective service delivery.

In June 2018 Crowe UK changed its name from Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP, as part of a global rebrand across the Crowe Global network. The rebrand saw more than 220 member firms globally adopt the name Crowe.

For more information, visit: www.crowe.co.uk

  • Follow Crowe UK on LinkedIn
  • Follow Crowe UK on Twitter @CroweUK

Industry recognition

Crowe are leading advisors to the UK mid-market and hold a top 10 position in the 2018 Corporate AIM Adviser Rankings in Technology, Basic Materials, Oil and Gas, Industrials, Consumer Goods and Financials.

The firm was named: Top Charity Auditor of the Year (Charity Financial Audit League Table 2009 -2017), Best Tax Investigations Team (Taxation Awards 2016) and Best Human Capital/Employment Tax Practice (Taxation Awards 2018).

Families should seek advice before paying huge bills for relatives’ care

Thursfields Solicitors has issued crucial advice for families facing huge top-up bills towards the costs of their loved ones who are so ill that they need residential care.

The guidance comes after it was revealed that a pensioner’s personal savings were running out because she was having to pay £550 a week towards the residential care of her husband, who suffers from severe dementia.

The story was just one in a BBC report which says the current council-run and means-tested system is a “fundamental source of unfairness” that leaves many people without the social care support they desperately need.

Tracy Ashby, a senior associate solicitor at Thursfields, is an expert in care funding, safeguarding individuals and Court of Protection applications, and is a full member of Solicitors for the Elderly.

She said: “There’s often a lack of advice given to people in such stressful and upsetting situations.

“In this case, it could well be that the wife shouldn’t have been forced into such large top-ups, as it’s clearly having such a personal detrimental effect on her.”

Ms Ashby explained that local authorities have certain statutory obligations and responsibilities as outlined in the Care Act 2014, and that these are supposed to be based on person-centred considerations, rather than just financial circumstances.

“The additional payment must always be optional and never as a result of commissioning failures leading to a lack of choice,” she said.

“That means top-up fees shouldn’t be a standard request, but they often are because local authorities are regularly focused on finance first, care second. Unfortunately, this can happen because advice isn’t given or obtained when a relative is entering care.”

Ms Ashby urged people facing a situation where their loved ones need residential care to always seek professional legal advice to make sure they are treated fairly by the system.

She added: “The UK’s social care system is in disarray, as evidenced by the fact that the Green Paper on this subject due out before the summer recess has now been delayed to coincide with the NHS proposals in the Autumn.

“At this time of chaos, people need a trained solicitor who can outline what the rules actually are, what help is available and whether the NHS should contribute.

“Importantly, a solicitor trained in the complex detail of care costs can explain what to do if the local authority refuses to work with the family and help at a time when a dispute could cause further detriment to the person in care.

“Funds are limited but this shouldn’t mean that people should suffer, nor that self-funders should prop up the failing system.”

Ends (436 words)

For further information, please contact:

Dani James, Business Development Manager, Thursfields Solicitors
Email: djames@thursfields.co.uk Tel: 01905 677066

Or
Steve Dyson, ASAP PR – 01789 490786

www.thursfields.co.uk, Twitter – @Thursfields, LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/company/thursfields

Notes to Editors
Thursfields Solicitors is one of the region’s longest established and reputable law firms, with more than 150 staff in eight offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands. Thursfields Solicitors provides a full range of legal services to business and the private individual, including property, family, employment and commercial law as well as probate and litigation. The firm has offices in Worcester, Kidderminster, Halesowen, Sedgley, Stourport-on-Severn, Solihull and Birmingham.