Companies restating accounts 'to be named'

The UK's corporate governance regulator will be able to publicly name any company it investigates that restates its annual report whether for "corrective or clarificatory" reasons under changes announced on Wednesday in a move that boosts the regulator's powers.

Until now when there has been a dispute between company directors and the Financial Reporting Council's Review Panel - which is responsible for checking company annual report and accounts to ensure compliance with company law - the panel has not been allowed to publicly state its case. From 1 April 2012 that will change, allowing the panel to issue a press statement.

In disputes, the ultimate sanction of the panel is to take company directors to court to force them to restate their report and accounts. To date no court applications have been made.

The change has not been well received by auditors. Deloitte said it was against naming companies in this situation. It said that the panel should instead provide information on the cases without pointing the finger at companies.

KPMG said that the move would be "counterproductive".

"More specifically, we believe these proposals could adversely affect the benefits of the panel's current approach of conducting its enquiries on a confidential basis with companies and achieving improvements in corporate reporting through those discussions," it said.