Accounting and Audit

Autonomy, FRC Meeting, Retailers and Brexit Legal Advice

The big news last Friday (30/11/2018) was that former CEO Mike Lynch has been charged with fraud in the USA over the accounts of Autonomy. That company was purchased by Hewlett Packard who promptly proceeded to write off most of the cost – see this blog post for more information: https://www.sharesoc.org/blog/regulations-and-law/belated-action-by-frc-re-autonomy/. As this was a UK company, are we anywhere nearer a hearing in the UK over the alleged “creative accounting” that took place at the company and the failure of the ...

FRC Investor Event on 3rd December 2018

This was a very well attended, very successful event held at the FRC office at 125 London Wall. An attentive audience of over 70 UKSA and ShareSoc members listened to senior members of the FRC team: Tracy Vegro (below), Jen Sisson, Carol Page, Andrew Meek, James Ferris, David Johnson, Claudia Mortimer, Catherine Horton, Marian Williams, Phil Fitzgerald and Deepa Raval. The FRC and the audit profession are being pilloried and heavily criticised. So, this was a chance for the FRC to explain what ...

Too Much Cash, Wey Education and Patisserie Accounts

Are you stacked up with cash in your ISAs, SIPPs, and direct portfolios? As a dedicated follower of fashion (if the markets are falling as investors sell, then so do I) it is of some concern that the cash is not earning any interest. There was some relatively good news yesterday from soon to be listed A.J.Bell Youinvest. They are increasing the interest they pay on cash held in portfolios. Previously you got 0.05% on balances more than £50,000. It will ...

Earthport Accounts, City of London IT and Patisserie

Earthport (EPO) is the latest AIM company to report that its past accounts are not all they should have been. Following a review by the new CEO and CFO, it seems there have been errors in reporting of forward foreign exchange transactions. This will result in fair value adjustments and a reduction of £6.3 million to £16.6 million in the net assets of the group at June 2017. Likewise adjustments are required to previous years. Reported earnings are also reduced although ...

Black Hole in Patisserie Holdings, Audit Reviews, Telford Homes and Brexit

Let’s take the really bad news first. AIM listed Patisserie Holdings (CAKE) shares have been suspended following an announcement of “potentially fraudulent accounting irregularities” which will significantly impact the company’s cash position. The CFO, Chris Marsh, has been suspended. Media reports suggest there may be shortfall of as much as £20 million. The auditors are Grant Thornton which won’t improve their reputation much but as the company’s year end is September they may not yet have looked at last year’s results. According ...

8pm Tuesday, 7 August, the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘The Equity Release Trap’.

Make a date in your diary for 8pm Tuesday, 7 August, for the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘The Equity Release Trap’. The documentary investigates the claims of Professor Kevin Dowd, professor of finance and economics at the University of Durham, that the equity release sector has been seriously under-valuing embedded guarantees, and that the regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority, has only made half-hearted attempts to address these under-valuations while permitting them anyway. The implications for some of the firms involved could ...

Lax Regulation (Globo, GRG) and Japanese Trust AGM

Globo was one of those AIM companies that turned out to be a complete fraud. Back in December 2015 the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) announced an investigation into the audits of the company by Grant Thornton (GT). Even the cash reported on the balance sheet in the consolidated accounts of the parent company proved to be non-existent (or had been stolen perhaps). I have previously complained about the slow progress and the lack of any information on this investigation. But former shareholders ... Read more

Open Season on Auditors?

I attended a joint ShareSoc/UKSA meeting hosted by PwC yesterday. There was a lively debate as one might expect of the problems of the audit profession where there have been just too many issues with listed company accounts in recent years. The latest is an investigation announced by the FRC into the audit of Conviviality but there have been lots of other problem cases in both large and small companies – Carillion, Interserve, BHS, BT, Rolls-Royce, Mitie, RSM Tenon, Connaught, Autonomy, ...