Accountants court Treasury in fresh push for price-fixing - Daily Nation

Accountants court Treasury in fresh push for price-fixing

Tuesday July 10 2018

 Julius Mwatu

Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya chairman Julius Mwatu. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG 

By PATRICK ALUSHULA
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Accountants have revived a bid to introduce minimum fees for advisory services months after the competition watchdog rejected the initial request.

The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) has turned to the Treasury to push the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) to give members the green light to prescribe minimum fees for each category of service in non-assurance, company audits, saccos, pension schemes and public benefit organisations.

“We had discussions with the CAK after the ruling but it did not yield any fruit so we had to go to the (Treasury) Cabinet secretary,” chairman Julius Mwatu said in a phone interview.

“We have appealed through National Treasury because that is our host ministry.

We have made formal written submissions and it is something we are discussing.”

Through the application to the CAK, auditors wanted to fix fees in a move that could have put them at par with lawyers and surveyors who have set minimum charges.

Currently, accountants negotiate with the clients and agree on fees without any price guides, a scenario that Mr Mwatu said has opened way for low-quality services as firms compete for work.

In the absence of fee guidelines, he argued, the auditors undercut one another with some getting compromised exposing investors to the possibility of accounting scandals.

“Definitely if one (firm) is quoting Sh1 million and another Sh200,000, the Sh200,000 audit firm will do less quality work by cutting some processes. That’s where the risk comes in,” he said.

Last month, the CAK also rejected Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya’s application to set prices, arguing such practices extinguishes competition with no public benefit.

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