68% of FTSE finance professionals call for UK Government’s proposed audit reforms and introduction of UK SOX to be delayed

Research shows that reform will have a positive impact on economic recovery and increase investor confidence and public trust—but organizations are asking for more time to prepare.

LONDON June 9, 2021Galvanize, a Diligent brand and the global leader in SaaS governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) software, today announced new findings from a national survey, which reveals that the vast majority of senior finance professionals in UK-listed businesses want proposed UK audit reforms—and the introduction of a UK version of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)—to be delayed. On average, respondents want the reform to be delayed by two years, and 34% would like a delay of three to four years.

The research, based on 250 respondents from listed companies (including 40 from FTSE 100 businesses), provides unique insight into the thoughts and perspectives of those who will be impacted most by the government’s proposed audit reforms. Key findings from the research include:

Predicted increase in corporate failures, trust in business, and economic recovery

  • 69% of respondents say audit reform will positively affect the UK’s economic recovery
  • 43% say audit reform will lead to more corporate failures (27% think it will lead to fewer corporate failures)
  • 42% say investor confidence in UK-listed companies will increase (30% think it will decrease)
  • 43% say public trust and confidence in business will increase (23% think it will decrease)

Clear support for directors’ personal responsibility and liability

  • 80% of respondents agree that directors should be held personally responsible and liable for the accuracy of company financial statements
  • 75% say the government’s audit reforms proposal is sufficient to hold directors accountable

More time and technology required

  • 85% of respondents say their organization needs to invest more into technology to meet the challenges of UK audit reform, and they anticipate that this investment will take more than two years
  • 66% say their existing system of internal controls could be improved to comply with a UK version of SOX

“The government’s audit reforms are coming and businesses need to get ready,” said Keith Fenner, International Managing Director at Galvanize. “With or without a delay in this reform, there’s no question that Brexit and the pandemic have already strained business and this will only add further pressure. Organizations must now invest in technology to create a strong foundation of controls, leading to better visibility of risk, reduced failures, and better overall performance to help drive our collective economic recovery.”

To read the full report, go to: https://info.wegalvanize.com/uk-sox-research-report.html

Survey Methodology

On behalf of Galvanize, Censuswide surveyed 250 Audit Managers, Heads Of Risk, Chief Financial Officers, and Finance Directors in UK-listed companies between April 4 and 21, 2021.

The survey received 250 responses, including 40 from the FTSE 100 and a further 37 from the FTSE 250 (101 to 350). 46% of respondents were Chief Financial Officers, 24% were Finance Directors, 16% were Heads of Risk, and 14% were Audit Managers.

About Diligent:

Galvanize is now Diligent. Diligent is a leading governance, risk and compliance (GRC) SaaS provider, serving more than one million users from over 25,000 organizations around the globe. Our modern GRC platform ensures boards, executives, and other leaders have a holistic, integrated view of ESG data, audit, risk, information security, ethics, and compliance across the organization. Diligent brings technology, insights, and confidence to leaders so they can build more effective, equitable, and successful organizations. For more information visit www.diligent.com.

About Censuswide

Censuswide specializes in robust, high-quality market research for the global communications industry. Censuswide, a member of ESOMAR—a global association and the voice of the data, research, and insights industry—complies with the MRS code of conduct.

©2021 ACL Services Ltd. ACL, Galvanize, the Galvanize logo, HighBond, and the HighBond logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACL Services Ltd. dba Galvanize. © 2021 Diligent Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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