Auditors are good at lots of things but could we spot what’s happening to the bees?

, , , ,

I often believe that society at large does not get best value for money from auditors.

That’s not to say that we deliver bad value for money.  Quite the contrary in fact; audit work does not attract especially high fees, has high costs of provision and very high insurance costs as a result of fairly high risk of litigation.

All of these factors conspire to mean that audit work is often not undertaken by smaller firms of accountants at all – the risk/ return profile is just not good enough.

Today, I noticed that the UK government had committed to spending up to £10 million for urgent research by eminent scientists into why the population of bees and other pollinating insects is rapidly falling.  Answers are needed soon – bees play an essential role in the food chain that we all depend on.

There are significant amounts of money spent on government research and enquiries. For example, the results of an enquiry into the “Bloody Sunday” killings were announced last week.  This enquiry had reportedly cost £100 million in fees, with a further £91 million in disbursements.  It had also taken fourteen years to reach its conclusions.

Now, I rather doubt that most auditors have the scientific skills necessary to determine the reason for bees’ decline, but I suspect that they do have the skills necessary to identify the key assertions by witnesses to the Bloody Sunday killings, obtain and evaluate sufficient, appropriate evidence and then reach a conclusion.

This process is often known by an alternative name of “auditing”.  Our skills are already used in forensic investigations.  I wonder why people don’t think to use us in other situations where establishing facts is so critical?

With our innate focus on VFM audit and the natural sense of urgency that comes from having to report on financial statements within a matter of months, I can’t help but wonder if auditors would have been able to do the job for less than £191 million and sooner than fourteen years.

An awkward mistake.
Have you ever sent an email to the wrong person by mistake? What about posting something on social media which, with hindsight you’d wished you[..]
OMG - will these hit the shelves?
Procter & Gamble, or P&G as it’s commonly known, is one of the world’s largest companies and has an incredible portfolio of products including Gillette,[..]
Grant Thornton fined £4million.
Grant Thornton, the mid-tier accounting firm has been fined £4m and reprimanded by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). So, what did they do wrong? It[..]
Something to crow about...
At the time of writing the Puy du Fou historical theme park in France has got over 12,000 TripAdvisor reviews and a 5 star rating.[..]
PwC, a Bishop and a thief...
What do you do if you work for PwC and you’re due to be promoted to a partner in October? Well, if you’re Max Livingstone-Learmonth[..]