PwC fixes council’s £150m accounting error

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Cambridgeshire County Council has paid an additional £35,000 to its auditor, PwC after the accounting firm spotted an error of  about £150m in the council’s record of its fixed assets.

PwC charged the bill for extra services after it discovered the error, Cambridge News reported.

The council, which says it has changed how it records its assets, is planning to cut about £50m-worth of services, Cambridge News reported.

"It is clearly disappointing to incur any additional audit fees, but the additional work undertaken by the council's auditors is partly due to the severe financial situation the council, like all authorities, face,” a council spokesman told the newspaper.

"Part of it dates back to some errors that first arose in 2006 some 10 years ago. Whilst accepting that the errors were made by officers of this council, the external auditors have verified that this was a human accounting error and that no assets were lost or stolen."

Cllr Peter Topping, who is a member of the council’s audit and accounts committee, admitted to the Cambridge news that there were faults on both sides, questioning how clearly PwC raised the issue. But Topping conceded: "It's purely an accounting method problem, but it is unfortunate that it's cost us."

PwC had previously raised concerns about the council’s fixed assets register in its final audit letter. In its Audit findings PwC warned about the council’s register. They wrote: “We have previously reported this as a control weakness to the council in our reports in prior years”.

PwC were paid £235,000 for their audit work. 


About Nick Huber

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I’m a specialist business journalist and have a particular interest in tax and technology. 


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