Morrisons plans to hand auditing work to PwC

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BRADFORD-based supermarket chain Morrisons yesterday revealed that it plans to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers (Pwc) as its statutory auditor.

The work had previously been carried out by KPMG, which is one of PwC’s biggest rivals.

In a statement issued yesterday, Morrisons said: “Wm Morrison Supermarkets today announces the completion of a formal tender process for its statutory audit contract, in line with best practice.

“Subject to approval at the AGM on June 5 2014, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will be appointed as Morrisons’ statutory auditor for the year ending February 1 2015.

“The board would like to thank KPMG for their significant contribution as Morrisons auditors over a number of years.”

A spokesman for PwC, which has around 650 staff in Yorkshire and the Humber, declined to comment about Morrisons’ announcement yesterday.

KPMG’s Leeds office is one of the firm’s largest outside London, and employs more than 700 staff.

Chris Hearld, the office senior partner for KPMG in Leeds, said yesterday: “Naturally we are disappointed not to be re-selected as WM Morrison Supermarkets’ external auditor.

“We recognise that good corporate governance requires a regular review of audit relationships. We have been proud to serve in this role for a number of years and during this period our partners have delivered audit services of the highest quality.

“We have a strong professional relationship with WM Morrison Supermarkets and look forward to working with the business in the future.”

In December last year, it was revealed that Marks & Spencer had dropped PwC as its auditor, ending a relationship that dated from 1926.

M&S decided to work with Deloitte, one of PwC’s arch rivals, at a time when European Union regulators were considering new rules to make the auditing market more competitive.

In October last year, the UK pulled back from accounting reforms that would have forced top companies to change book-keepers every five years.

The Big Four accountancy firms employ a combined total of 2,000 people in Yorkshire.