Grant Thornton has announced a £7m investment to improve standards in its accounting operations after regulators opened an investigation into the audit of café chain Patisserie Valerie, which almost collapsed last year before going into administration.
Bosses outlined a series of new measures to further strengthen audit as a specialism within the business, including the establishment of a new Audit Quality Board, centres of excellence in London and Birmingham and a £7m investment in people and technology over the coming year.
It will also carry out an independent review of audit, providing further recommendations to continually reinforce audit quality at the firm.
Grant Thornton acknowledged that the measures form part of its response to “recent scrutiny of its audits of large listed companies”, and wider efforts to prepare the business to compete for FTSE 350 audit work should changes in the market present a more level playing field for competition.
CEO Dave Dunckley said: “As individual firms and as a profession we are under scrutiny. We are responding by strengthening audit as a specialist practice area, one that delivers for all stakeholders.
“And we will continue to work with our clients and the regulator to go further. The independent review of our audit practice this autumn will be an important part of our continued efforts to improve.
“These changes are also an important part of enhancing our ability to deliver FTSE 350 work in future. Large public businesses and all their stakeholders depend on the choice and quality a genuinely competitive market creates. Grant Thornton will be ready to compete, but we will only re-enter the market if the regulatory and commercial conditions allow.”
Every year Grant Thornton conducts more than 12,000 audits of mid-market companies striving for growth, large FTSE 350 businesses and public sector organisations providing important public services.