Complaints about the auditor of a company
What should I do if I have a complaint about a statutory auditor or audit firm?
You should first complain to the auditor or firm.
Statutory audit is protected by a legal framework. All statutory auditors (and audit firms carrying out statutory audit) must be registered with a Recognised Supervisory Body (RSB). If you are unhappy with the auditor’s or firm’s response, you should complain to their RSB.
How can I complain to their Recognised Supervisory Body?
You can find out who they are registered with by searching the Register of Statutory auditors
You should check against both the individual and the firm’s name, if you are complaining about both, as the individual and the firm may be registered with different RSBs.
What if I complained to the Recognised Supervisory Body but I don’t agree with their outcome?
You can ask us to review the RSB’s handling of your complaint by filling in our online complaints form and selecting the option to complain about a professional accountancy or actuarial body. See more about how we handle these complaints and what happens next here.
What if I think the FRC should look at this complaint, not the Recognised Supervisory Body?
As the UK competent authority for statutory audit, we directly investigate breaches and enforce relevant requirements in certain higher risk categories of statutory audits (listed below) and usually delegate investigation and enforcement activity in relation to all other categories of statutory audit to the RSBs.
If you think this is a complaint that the FRC should look at and not the RSB, you can fill in our online complaints form and select the option to complain about a statutory auditor or audit firm.
What types of statutory audit breaches do we investigate directly?
We can investigate and enforce against breaches of relevant requirements in statutory audits of:
- Public Interest Entities (PIEs), being listed entities, credit institutions and insurance undertakings;
- AIM-listed companies with a market capitalisation in excess of €200m; and
- Lloyds Syndicates
in cases where:
- it would not be appropriate for our Case Examiners to resolve a matter without formal enforcement proceedings with a statutory auditor or audit firm through constructive engagement; and
- our Conduct Committee has decided that there is good reason to investigate the matter.
Click on the links for more information about the Audit Enforcement Procedure (AEP), which is the process under which those decisions are made and subsequent investigations are conducted, our Case Examiner Guidance on constructive engagement and our Conduct Committee Guidance on the thresholds for commencing an AEP investigation.
What will we not investigate?
We will not usually investigate other categories of statutory audit, as the RSBs undertake all other categories of statutory audit enforcement activity on our behalf. Find out more information here.
In exceptional circumstances it may be appropriate for us to undertake or continue an investigation that would usually be a matter for an RSB. If your complaint does not fall into the FRC investigation categories listed above but you think there is a good reason why the FRC should investigate the matter, please tell us why in your email.
Is there a time limit for complaining?
To give us the best opportunity to resource and review complaints and regulatory referrals effectively, we ask that you submit your complaint within 12 months of the conduct or matter that you wish to be reviewed (or within 12 months of you having reasonably become aware of it).
If 12 months have passed but you would still like to refer a matter to us, we will ask you to explain when you became aware of it and why you are only referring it to us now.
What happens to my complaint?
We will review and acknowledge receipt of your email within 5 working days. If we think that your complaint is not something that the FRC can review, we will explain why.
If we think that your complaint relates to a category of statutory audit which the FRC directly investigates, we will allocate it for review by our Case Examination and Enquiries Team.
Our Case Examination and Enquiries Team will contact you to confirm the matter has been allocated to them within 5 working days of allocation. They may ask you for further information. They will then consider your complaint and may either:
- Take no further action.
- Engage with the accountant, firm or actuary
- Refer the matter to our Conduct Committee for a decision to refer the matter for investigation under one of our disciplinary schemes (Conduct Committee Referral)
What will I hear back from the FRC about the outcome of my complaint and when?
If our Case Examination and Enquiries Team does not propose to take further action, we will explain why and aim to do so within 6 weeks of allocation. If we think that your complaint should be referred to another regulator they will tell you.
If your matter remains under consideration by our Case Examination and Enquiries Team, they may contact you for further information and assistance but they will not provide you with updates or an outcome letter. This is because our policy is not to disclose any information to complainants about live cases. This is for fairness and to ensure due process.
Our publication policy here explains when we publish information about opening and closing investigations, settlements and Tribunal outcomes. If you write to us asking for updates outside of publications that we have issued under that policy, we will not be able to give you any further information.
Therefore, if you do not hear further from us, or if we say to you that we are unable to disclose information in response to a query from you, this may be because the matter is being considered or progressing or has progressed through Constructive Engagement or a Conduct Committee Referral (and potential subsequent investigation under one of our enforcement procedures).
You can subscribe here for updates about our Enforcement activity (this will include press notices released under the Publication Policy).
We also publish information in our Annual Report and accounts and Annual Enforcement Review about Enforcement and Constructive Engagement activity which you can find here.
What if I disagree with how the FRC has handled my complaint?
You can fill in our online complaints form and select the option to complain about the FRC. See more about how we handle these complaints and what happens next here.