Grant Thornton to up audit quality with new appointment

Grant Thornton to up audit quality with new appointment

Grant Thornton has today appointed insider Fiona Baldwin as head of audit, several months after the Patisserie Valerie debacle

Grant Thornton to up audit quality with new appointment

Grant Thornton has today appointed insider Fiona Baldwin as head of audit, months after the Patisserie Valerie debacle.

“The appointment comes at a time where the industry is facing unprecedented levels of change,” said Dave Dunckley, CEO of Grant Thornton, “which will require the dedication and resourcefulness Fiona possesses to help Grant Thornton navigate these changes and ensure our audit practice is fit for the future.”

Baldwin’s appointment comes amid the ongoing Patisserie Valerie audit saga.

In October 2018, the cake and pastry chain collapsed after initially discovering it was £10m in debt rather than having £28m in the bank.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) announced its investigation of the auditor Grant Thornton in November 2018 for alleged rubber stamping.

It has since been established that the Patisserie Valerie black hole extends to a further £94m. Meanwhile, extensive reviews are being conducted into the audit market, including one by Sir Donald Brydon, which is due to report at the end of the year. 

Baldwin, the first head of audit to join the strategic leadership team, has vowed to improve audit quality by investing in the skills and resources of the firm’s audit practitioners.

“I’m delighted to become the firm’s first head of audit to join the strategic leadership team,” said Baldwin, “and look forward to ensuring that the changes that we are implementing in the firm and that are taking place across the industry result in the improvements in the quality of audit which our clients, the industry and wider stakeholders are calling for.”

Baldwin brings 20 years’ experience to the new role, having led audit engagements across a range of industries, from publicly listed and larger corporates to social housing and pension schemes in the UK and internationally.

She was most recently been practice leader for Grant Thornton’s operations in Milton Keynes, St. Albans and Leicester. She qualified as ACA in 1995.

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