| 4.7°C Dublin

Credit union probe over unregistered auditors

Reports that some credit unions may have used unregistered auditors over recent years are to be investigated, the Irish Independent understands.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, led by Paul Appleby, is investigating a large number of cases of companies who used auditors not on the official register compiled by the Irish Companies Registration Office (CRO).

In some cases, companies have allowed people to pretend they are auditors and still sign off on accounts, while in other cases the name of an auditor has been used, even though that person never signed off on the accounts in question.

Credit unions are not limited companies in the normal way and are regulated by the Registrar of Friendly Societies.

However, they do have to publish accounts, which are circulated to their members.

It is understood the accountancy bodies, which work closely with Mr Appleby's office and the CRO, are aware of reports that some credit unions may have used unregistered auditors, but no definitive proof of this has emerged.

Unless there is some kind of logistical reason a registration is not made, using an unregistered auditor is a breach of the Companies Act 1990 and can be prosecuted.

The Irish Independent understands the CRO will use an IT solution to try and drive out the practice of using unauthorised auditors.

For example, auditors may be given a password or type of encryption technology in the future that should make it easier to stop unregistered auditors getting around the system.

It is understood that about 85 individuals are believed to be acting as unregistered auditors, out of total number of more than 1,500.

About 40pc of all complaints at Mr Appleby's office concern the issue of unapproved auditors.

Irish Independent