In 2017, seemingly out of the blue, the construction giant Carillion collapsed. The official inquiry into its failure describes the situation running up to the company's collapse as 'a story of recklessness, hubris and greed'.

In this report, we highlight that dramas like this one are playing out in smaller forms in other UK businesses every year. This leaves the UK economy with significant costs.

Bad governance and poor management with too little accountability in businesses is at the heart of this problem. Auditors should be the gatekeepers helping to keep such financial mismanagement at bay, yet too often they are failing to do so.

In this first report of a three-part series, we provide an assessment of the core problems of the audit sector and their costs for society. We will also show how a reformed audit sector could be boon for a productive economy.