PricewaterhouseCoopers is the next Big Four U.K. auditing giant to overhaul operations amid growing regulatory scrutiny on the industry.
PwC is reportedly planning to ramp up its auditing operations by hiring 500 more auditors across the U.K., reports in Reuters said on Wednesday (June 5). The company will also deploy a digital audit team, strengthen training operations and review existing clients.
The company said it aims to “achieve a return that allows continual investment in and focus on quality.”
The auditor’s efforts follow KPMG’s previous announcement that it has ramped up oversight of its U.K. auditing operations via the creation of a new executive committee to manage performance and controls. KPMG’s new Head of Audit Jon Holt is leading the committee, reports said last month.
The auditing giants’ efforts follow recommendations by the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) earlier this year that the Big Four auditors separate their auditing and consulting operations and conduct audits in conjunction with smaller auditing companies. Regulators have heightened scrutiny of the industry following a series of collapses of large corporations, including Carillion and BHS, which have led policymakers to question auditors’ role in preventing fraud and foreseeing corporate failures.
“We have said for some time that we support changes that will improve audit quality,” said PwC’s U.K. Head of Audit Hermione Hudson in a statement. PwC has also reportedly agreed to not provide auditing services for clients to which it already provides consultancy services.
But the Big Four auditing firms have shied away from accepting the CMA’s recommendation for a breakup.
KPMG noted in its announcement last month that “these changes do not mark the separation of KPMG U.K.’s audit practice from the rest of the firm, but will deliver on many of the recommendations proposed by the CMA and the Select Committee in their recent reports on the profession.”