Audit, independence, regulations, and business services

Some argue that allowing auditors to carry out any non-audit services for their audit clients weakens their independence, objectivity and professional scepticism. We disagree.

Certain activities are without doubt in conflict with the independence of the audit and should be prohibited. For all other services, we believe the audit committee, as the shareholders’ representative charged with governance, is in the best position to decide whether they are consistent with the company’s own governance, and are in its stakeholders’ best interests in relation to quality, price and efficiency.

Taking away or limiting a company’s ability to choose its best provider would not enhance objectivity, scepticism, or the public interest. Neither would a defined list of permitted services or an artificial cap on services promote audit quality, independence or governance.