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Three of the Big Four Support Delay to U.K. Results, EY Cautious

March 23, 2020, 5:26 PM

Three of the Big Four accounting firms are backing calls by U.K. regulators for large companies to delay financial reporting as the new coronavirus pandemic throws business into chaos.

In statements Monday to Bloomberg Tax, all but EY endorsed the idea that companies needed more time to consider the impact of Covid-19 before releasing their preliminary financial results for the year. On March 21, the Financial Conduct Authority wrote to all U.K.-listed companies asking them to hold off on announcing results for at least two weeks.

“We support this announcement by the FCA,” Hemione Hudson, PwC’s head of audit, said in an email. “It’s important that companies have time to reflect on the current situation and fully digest the implications for corporate reporting, given how fast-moving the last few days have been.”

Deloitte LLP’s U.K. audit head Stephen Griggs said by email that “Covid-19 creates unprecedented practical challenges for corporate reporting, and these will take time for companies to work through.”

KPMG LLP’s U.K. audit head Jon Holt said that companies needed more time to assess the impact of coronavirus. “It is clear that given the pressures on people and the changes that we see day to day, it is in the public interest for reporting to be delayed,” he said.

Only Ernst and Young LLP fell short of a full endorsement, saying only that it was monitoring the impact of the virus. An EY statement said it was “carefully considering the implications of the guidance from the FCA.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Kapoor in London at correspondents@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at jharrington@bloombergtax.com; David Jolly at djolly@bloombergtax.com; Patrick Ambrosio at pambrosio@bloombergtax.com

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