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Bankers, lawyers, politicians, clergymen – they have all lost standing in Irish life in recent years. And accountants have also suffered a loss of public confidence. Michael Costello, a partner and head of audit at BDO, one of the country’s main accountancy firms, has said that the profession needs    “fresh thinking” and that it would have to demonstrate greater independence and impartiality.
“As long is there is a suspicion that the audit process  can be coerced to the will of others then the problem is more than one of perception,” he was quoted as saying in the Sunday Business Post. There was a gap between the public expectation of auditors and their actual role. “It is understandably a source of frustration that whenever fraud is exposed, the first people in the firing line are the auditors.”
But complaining about this wasn’t of much value given the low level of confidence in the profession at the moment. “Shareholders have a legitimate expectation of transparency, of confidence that auditors are performing to the best of their ability and that their findings are clearly presented and communicated,” he said.


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