A group of the North West’s leading audit professionals and academics met last month in Manchester to debate the future regulation of their profession at an event held by ICAEW Manchester, the district society that represents more than 6,000 members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in and around Greater Manchester.

Representatives of audit firms ranging from the “big four” to SME accountancy practices, and some of the city’s leading academic authorities in the field, gathered at the offices of Azets in Manchester to share their thoughts and experiences with Philip Nicol-Gent, independent chair of the ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB), in a discussion held under the Chatham House Rule.

In a wide-ranging conversation, participants raised concerns about the proportionality of regulation relating to the audit of smaller public interest entities (PIEs), the challenges the profession faces in providing meaningful data relating to firms’ ESG (environmental, social and governance) performance, and the emergence of artificial intelligence.

Rod Sellers OBE, president of ICAEW Manchester, chaired the debate. He said, “This was a lively, frank discussion, and a valuable opportunity for ICAEW members from our region to share their experiences with each other and with the chair of the IRB. It was also a great opportunity for them to hear from Philip about the IRB’s evolving role in the regulatory framework.

“I would like to thank all the delegates for their time, and Azets for hosting us. I would also like to extend our thanks to Philip for taking the time to come and speak to us – it was a really useful, and thought-provoking, event for everyone involved.”


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