Audit committees don’t understand off balance sheet finance

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Accountancy Age reports that:

Audit committees don't understand the off-balance sheet structures that are blowing holes in company balance sheets, investors have insisted.

The comments, from the Association of British Insurers, are some of the strongest criticisms of the profession's role during the credit crunch.

Let's be clear though: audit committees won't be alone in this. Off balance sheet finance belongs in the secrecy space, like offshore. The whole purpose of the secrecy space is to make sure that the true nature of what is going on is not understood.

The problem is not in educating audit committees: the need is to shatter the secrecy space and expose it to the transparent world of accountability.