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Audit Reform Proposals in Europe Target Big Four

Neil Baker | November 29, 2011

Many in the audit profession are pushing back hard against ideas regulators have proposed to improve audit quality here in the United States, including audit firm rotation and new disclosures in the audit report. But those ideas may seem mild compared to what regulators in Europe are considering.

The European Commission is due to unveil a package of radical reforms this week intended to challenge the Big Four's monopoly on the listed-company audit market and to improve audit quality. Some of the plans that may be on the table include mandatory audit firm rotation, dual audits for some issuers, and new prohibitions on additional services that auditors may provide.

Michel Barnier, the commissioner responsible for Europe's internal market, has been under pressure to water down his proposals since a copy leaked to the press in September. Latest reports suggest...

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