Accounting watchdog fines auditor over Laura Ashley failings

The British isles accounting watchdog has “severely reprimanded” the auditor of manner retailer Laura Ashley, which fell into administration through the pandemic.

The Monetary Reporting Council mentioned on Wednesday that it experienced fined UHY Hacker Youthful £300,000 as a end result of failings in relation to its audit of the retailer.

Martin Jones, a husband or wife at the firm, was also strike with a £45,000 great and a extreme reprimand.

The FRC stated the penalties relate to audits of Laura Ashley for the financial decades ending June 2018 and 2019.

The retailer’s income and earnings “consistently declined” over the four decades from 2016. Its losses amplified tenfold from £1.4mn in 2018 to £14mn in 2019.

However, the audit reports for 2018 and 2019 “noted no substance uncertainty similar to the use of the likely worry assumption”, the FRC claimed.

Laura Ashley collapsed into administration in March 2020 as a result of the effects of Covid-19 on its enterprise. The retailer had 155 stores and 2,700 workers.

UHY Hacker Youthful and Jones admitted “serious breaches” of their job demands, this means the audits failed “to receive sensible assurance about irrespective of whether the economical statements as a full had been free from substance misstatement,” the FRC stated.

The audit firm and Jones have volunteered to withdraw quickly from enterprise new audits of community corporations for at least two decades.

The fines for UHY Hacker Young and Jones ended up also discounted for admissions, to £217,500 and £32,625 respectively.

Jamie Symington, deputy executive counsel of the FRC, stated: “The breaches in this scenario ended up significant and spanned two audit yrs influencing numerous places of the audits, some which ended up essential to the right perform of audit.”

The company responded to the FRC actions and explained: “Audit top quality is a important concentration and precedence for UHY Hacker Younger, but we recognise that the audits relating to Laura Ashley Holdings for the economical years 2018 and 2019 fell beneath the significant criteria that we, as a company, set for ourselves. 

“However, as verified by the FRC’s findings, the bancrupt administration of LAH was not induced by the issues identified by the regulator, but was attributed by LAH’s administrator to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the group’s business.”

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