PwC fined over poor BHS audit

Accountancy firm PwC has been fined £10m and given a severe reprimand in the latest development in the long running inquiry into the 2016 collapse of British department store chain BHS.


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The company and one of its audit partners have been sanctioned over their handling of the audit of BHS and Taveta Group, following an investigation under the Accountancy Scheme opened in June 2016.

Philip Green's Taveta Group and Dominic Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions have also been previously ordered to pay sums in relation to BHS’ collapse, after the popular chain was dissolved resulting in the loss of over 11,000 jobs.

PwC had audited BHS’s accounts in the last full year before it was sold to Retail Acquisitions for £1, and signed it off as a going concern. Its history with Philip Green and the rest of his retail empire was also called into question.

The Financial Reporting Council reduced PwC’s fine to £6.5 million for early settlement. Audit partner Steve Denison was fined an additional £500,000, reduced to £325,000 and banned from performing audit work for 15 years.

PwC said in a statement: “We recognise and accept there were serious shortcomings with this audit work. We are sorry that our work fell well below the professional standards expected of us and that we demand of ourselves.

“We have fully cooperated with the FRC throughout, including making a very early admission. Whilst the failings did not contribute to the collapse of BHS over one year later, they were serious and this is reflected in the Financial Reporting Council settlement.”

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