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Ernst & Young Lost a Lot of Audit Clients Last Quarter

I suppose "a lot" is a relative term, but I think most people would agree that to lose, on average, more than one client per week constitutes "a lot."  Yep! According to this report from Accounting Today, the second quarter was not kind to the firm formerly known as Ernst & Young, as the Black and Yellow lost a net 17 (+2/-19) SEC registered audit clients. The report is based on research from Audit Analytics.

Here's a chart (you can check out more tables herethat breaks everything down (apologies for the small-ish size, it's the best I could do). 

The net loss of 17 clients looks even worse in this table doesn't it? 

AT last reported audit client stats back in February, highlighting EY's and KPMG's wins for all of 2012. EY had a net increase of seven new clients in 2012, so the net decrease of 17, coupled with the net decrease of 1 client in the first quarter has more than doubled the net gain from last year.

There's a lot to note simply based on the data presented, including:

  • 10 of the clients lost when to Big 4 firms.
  • 5 of the clients lost went to KPMG*, 3 to Grant Thornton, and 2 to McGladrey.
  • BDO, the firm with the most audit wins, only took one client from EY.

I emailed EY spokeswoman Amy Call Well for comment, but have yet to hear back. I'll update if I learn anything.

Until I know more specifics, I'll resist speculating about why EY lost more than one client a week during Q2 since the number itself is newsworthy, but you shouldn't refrain from wondering aloud about these developments.

*UPDATE: I emailed Dan Hood, the editor-in-chief at AT, and he clarified the variance you see between various firms, including EY/KPMG, as "a time lag in reporting." That is, a company may report an auditor being fired or resigning in Q2 but the company had not yet appointed a successor.

BDO Tops Q2 SEC Audit Client Wins [AT]