(Reuters) - Britain’s audit watchdog said on Thursday it was investigating the audits by Grant Thornton UK of some financial statements of Interserve, the outsourcer that was taken over by lenders last month.
Scrutiny of Britain’s “Big Four” accounting firms has been spurred in the past year by a handful of investigations into listed company’s financial reporting as well as the collapse of Carillion and Poundworld, which led to an inquest in auditing industry standards.
One of the British government’s biggest contractors, and a peer of collapsed infrastructure and outsourcing group Carillion, Interserve was placed in administration in mid-March after shareholders rejected a rescue plan to deal with its debts.
The Financial Reporting Council said it was probing the audit of the company’s financial statements for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Grant Thornton UK did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of work hours.
The FRC is already investigating the accounting firm’s audit of cafe chain owner Patisserie’s financial statements for 2015-2017 after the discovery of a black hole in its finances led to the breakup and sale of the group.
The run of bad news has led to calls by lawmakers for the breakup of Britain’s “Big Four” accounting firms Ernst and Young, KPMG, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Patrick Graham