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The Audit Reform Lab

We put audit failure under the microscope, offering recommendations to reform the audit sector, tackle the UK’s urgent accountability problems and build a fairer society.

Projects and Campaigns

Pay And Performance:

What is the evidence on rewards for failure at the Big 4?

Corporate Stability:

Do auditors ensure companies report prudently?

Climate change:

Are auditors holding companies to account on their environmental reporting?

Public Accountability:

How well do auditors audit local councils and other public bodies?

Reimagining The Purpose Of Audit:

What works, what doesn’t and what audit could be.

Latest headlines

Reward for failure: The paradox of audit partners’ record payouts amidst poor audit quality

The UK's audit industry has faced unprecedented criticism after high-profile corporate collapses.

Financial crisis in Birmingham City Council

This briefing responds to the recent section 114 (s114) notice at Birmingham City Council (BCC) in September 2023, described as the ‘effective bankruptcy’ of Europe’s largest authority.

Local Authorities ‘At A Cliff Edge’: Birmingham City Council’s Accountability Crisis

There is a major public accountability crisis emerging at Birmingham City Council (BCC). The equal pay liability, which has led to the proposed fire sale of £500m worth of assets, has yet to be formally audited.

Audit failure in the UK energy supply industry

Between January 2021 and February 2022 thirty-one energy firms exited the energy market, affecting more than two million consumers.

The Tory Put Option: Why Opposition Parties Should Target Audit Reform Now

A matter of days ago, this was all but confirmed as it transpired that this much needed overhaul would not be included in the King’s Speech which sets out the government’s reform priorities for 2023-24.

What the ICAEW Could Do With Its £148m

A recent review of the accounts of the ICAEW) revealed that it has received more than £104 million in fines paid by its members with regard to their deficient work since 2015.

Audit Reform: Kicked into the long grass?

It is almost a year since the UK government published its response to the White Paper on audit reform. The White Paper was itself a response to a number of corporate collapses where audits had been shown to be seriously deficient.