Grant Thornton fined £2.3 million over Patisserie Valerie collapse


rant Thornton has been fined £2.3 million and supplied a serious reprimand for its failure to place fraud on the guides of Patisserie Valerie.

The Economical Reporting Council (FRC) explained it had strike Grant Thornton with the great and reprimand it for “serious breaches“ over various a long time in relation to its function examining Patisserie Valerie’s publications. The auditor was at first in line for a £4 million good but it was minimized soon after the company admitted wrongdoing.

Grant Thornton audit director David Newstead was also fined £150,000, presented a serious reprimand and banned from carrying out higher-degree audits for 3 decades.

“This selection recognize sets out various breaches of Related Demands across a few individual audit a long time, evidencing a significant deficiency of competence in conducting the audit work,“ explained Claudia Mortimore, deputy government counsel to the FRC.

“The audit of Patisserie Holdings Plc’s profits and funds in specific included missed red flags, a failure to get hold of ample audit evidence and a failure to stand back again and problem facts furnished by administration.“

Grant Thornton began auditing Patisserie Valerie in 2007. The cake chain uncovered fraud on its publications in 2018 and collapsed a yr afterwards, ensuing in the reduction of 900 jobs.

The FRC mentioned Grant Thornton failed to spot and investigate crimson flag these kinds of as 3 quarters of Patisserie Valerie’s voucher earnings for 2016 coming from a solitary huge transaction, which as 11 moments normal month-to-month volumes. The auditor also waved through third bash invoices that contained faults this sort of as missing company logos, typing glitches, and incorrect addresses.

“As a result of this investigation, GT has taken remedial actions to boost its processes and to avoid a recurrence of these types of breaches,” Mortimore said. “The package of fiscal and non-financial sanctions should really also enable to strengthen the high quality of potential audits.”

A spokesperson for Grant Thornton stated: “We regret the quality of our work fell quick of what was envisioned of us in this instance. Due to the fact the period in concern, we have invested significantly in our audit observe to better ensure consistent quality and have started off to see the substance final result of this financial investment.

“We will keep on to rigorously defend the civil claim introduced by PV’s liquidators, which ignores the board’s and management’s personal failings in detecting the sustained and collusive fraud which took put. We recognise that there have been shortcomings in our audit operate having said that, our operate did not bring about the failure of the business.”