The Auditing Practices Board has attempted to head off fears among external auditors that the Turnbull corporate governance report could make them liable for negligence claims, writes Lucinda Kemeny. With a new bulletin on the impact of the Turnbull report, the APB hopes to extinguish external auditors concerns, aired at the launch of the Turnbull report earlier this year, that they could become more exposed to negligence claims because of the lack of reference to their profession. This is despite the fact that the report widened the remit of internal control from financial risk to more general business issues. Rank Group finance director Nigel Turnbull said at the time: 'This may be a challenge to the audit profession and the Auditing Practices Board because this will broaden the scope of what they look at.' But APB technical director Jon Grant said a new APB bulletin on the requirements of the new governance report, now part of the Stock Exchange's listing rules, should circumvent any problems. 'We hope that we have got around any problems that would have arisen as a result of any expectation gap where the auditors could be perceived to have been able to do more to prevent problems arising,' he said. The bulletin stresses that external auditors should have a narrow view when compared to company directors, and formalises their role in an illustrative statement of their duties as part of a mock auditor's report. It says auditors are 'not required to consider whether the board's statements on internal control cover all risks and controls, or form an opinion on the effectiveness of the company's corporate governance procedures or its risks and control procedures'.
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