Big Four Audit firms unstoppable
Audit International, the leading specialists in Internal and External Audit Recruitment across Europe, the US and Asia have known that in 2014 PwC’s total fee income was £2.539bn, some £224m ahead of Deloitte (£2.315bn) according to the Financial Reporting Council’s 2014 Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession.
PwC also earned the highest fee income from audit (£571m) and from non-audit work for audit clients (£332m). This compares with Deloitte’s audit fee income of £486m.
Third-placed KPMG had total fee income of £1.874bn of which audit contributed £438m. Therefore, the research shows that mentioned two firms were well ahead of their Big Four firm rivals.
Meanwhile, EY earned £1.868bn, including £341m from audit services. Compared to the mid-tier firms and even if the next three largest firms (Grant Thornton, BDO and Baker Tilly) were to merge, the combined total of their fee income would still be £727m less than EY’s.
However, during 2014 the mid-tier saw a major boost to their overall fee income which on average grew by 15.1% compared to the Big Four’s 4.3%. Their audit fee income rose by 9.5% (Big Four 0.1). Their non-audit work for non-audit clients also grew on average by 18.7% compared to the Big Four’s 6.3%.
The Financial Reporting Council’s statistics show that all the firms’ audit fee income is shrinking as a percentage of overall fee income. This is more gradual among the Big Four where the percentage has gone down from 24% in 2010 to 21% in 2014. In the same period the mid-tier firms have seen their audit percentage drop from 34% to 28%.
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