His comment was typical of the 83% of small practitioners completing the questionnaire who said current rules, subjecting all companies with an annual turnover of £350,000 or more to compulsory audit, should be abolished. More than 100 accountants replied to the Accountancy Age questionnaire over the last fortnight. Those who replied were overwhelmingly practitioners in firms of less than ten partners - those most directly affected if the threshold is raised or abolished. Businesses and large firms appear largely indifferent to the issue. However, support for abolition of the £350,000 threshold was emphatic. Compulsory audit for small businesses was described as 'an unnecessary evil', 'a waste of time', 'farcical' and 'totally pointless'. 'There is life without audit for small businesses,' one respondent said. Many said abolition of the threshold would allow them to do more useful work for clients. However, the respondents were split on what the new rules should be. While 54% supported raising the threshold, they were split on whether the threshold should be set above or below £3m. Restricting the compulsory audit to companies with minority shareholders was supported by 14%. Another 14% supported restricting it to just listed companies. Most small practitioners said their incomes would be hit, but many said lost work could be replaced by providing more targeted work for clients.
THE SURVEY RESULTS Retain threshold 17% Threshold up to £3m 25% Threshold above £3m 29% Abolish compulsory audit 1% Retain for minorities 14% Retain for listed Cos. 14%
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