As we mentioned this morning, Britain’s Office of Fair Trading has determined that the Big 4 isn’t playing fair in the audit market and that it’s time everyone sat down (at roundtables, preferably) to sort this thing out. You’d expect the Big 4 to be a little rankled by this, accused of being benefactors in a game played with a stacked deck but actually, they’re quite comfortable with the situation. Accountancy Age got statements from various people at all the firms in the UK but just for fun, let’s try and identify which statement belongs to which firm. NO PEAKING.
A […] spokeswoman said the firm was “happy to co-operate” with the inquiry, outlining its ideas on opening up the marketplace.
She said: “We support increased choice in the audit market to enable audit committees to have a wider range of audit firms to choose among in meeting their audit needs and obtaining a high quality audit.
“To this end, we support a number of measures to increase choice, including reinforcing the audit committee’s role in auditor appointments; publication of independent inspection results for all audit firms that are active in listed company audits; removing Big-Four only restrictive covenants from loan agreements; liberalising audit firm ownership rules; and the creation of a single market for audit services in Europe.”
“We welcome the opportunity to cooperate with the OFT and participate in relevant discussions.
“We welcome all measures that enhance the quality and value of audits and we are supportive of measures that can increase competition and ensure there is – and is seen to be – a level playing field for market participants.”
“We welcome the OFT’s announcement today, in particular to engage all stakeholders in a programme of round tables and bilateral talks. [The firm] plans to play a constructive and active part in these discussions.”
A […] spokesman said the firm “welcomed” the inquiry, but said it believes there was already effective competition and pricing in the UK audit market “and look forward to hearing from the OFT its reasons for believing otherwise”.
“It is important to bring to a head the long-running debate on competition and choice, and we support calls for progressive and practical change within the industry.
“In carrying out its work, it is important that the OFT puts audit quality at the heart of the debate. We support a level playing field for all parties, and market-based – not regulatory – intervention.”
First correct answer in the comments will get GC luggage grips (yes, that’s what they are) and other swag that our publisher will gladly send you along with a recipe for Chicken Kiev.
Big Four welcomes OFT inquiry [Accountancy Age]