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February 5, 2023

New Analysis of Public Company Auditors Reveals the Same Old Sh*t, Different Year

Our friends over at Audit Analytics just came out with its 2019 analysis of public company auditors in the U.S., and the results are exactly what you would expect: the Big 4 firms audit just under half of all public companies, and EY audits the most by a pretty wide margin.

If you add up the number of public company audits done by the Big 4, Grant Thornton, BDO, and RSM, plus Marcum, MaloneBailey, and Crowe, it equals 3,810 of the 5,973 publicly listed entities in 2019, or 64%. The Big 4 alone audits 2,818 of those companies, or 47%.

Of those 10 firms, EY retained its crown as “King of the Public Company Auditors” with 897 engagements in 2019, almost 240 more than second place PwC. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 audit firms by public company count, courtesy of Audit Analytics:

  1. EY: 897 (15%)
  2. PwC: 659 (11%)
  3. Deloitte: 658 (11%)
  4. KPMG: 604 (10.1%)
  5. BDO USA: 249 (4.2%)
  6. Grant Thornton: 213 (3.6%)
  7. Marcum*: 185 (3.1%)
  8. RSM: 143 (2.4%)
  9. MaloneBailey: 111 (1.9%)
  10. Crowe: 91 (1.5%)

*Marcum counts include Marcum Bernstein & Pinchuk

These 10 firms are the same as the top 10 in 2018, which audited 3,844 of the 6,167 total registrants. As you can see, Deloitte is creeping on PwC for the second spot, while RSM leapfrogged over MaloneBailey for the eighth spot in 2019:

  1. EY: 921 (14.9%)
  2. PwC: 658 (10.7%)
  3. Deloitte: 640 (10.4%)
  4. KPMG: 631 (10.2%)
  5. BDO USA: 258 (4.2%)
  6. Grant Thornton: 218 (3.5%)
  7. Marcum*: 142 (2.3%)
  8. MaloneBailey: 141 (2.3%)
  9. RSM: 135 (2.2%)
  10. Crowe Horwath: 100 (1.6%)

EY also audited the most public companies in 2017 and 2016, but the number of engagements keeps dwindling:

  • 2019: 897
  • 2018: 921
  • 2017: 947
  • 2016: 994

The Big 4 also continues to dominate audits of large accelerated filers, with 89.5% of the market share combined:

  1. EY: 28%
  2. PwC: 22.2%
  3. Deloitte: 19.9%
  4. KPMG: 19.4%

The other 10.5% was divvied up between Grant Thornton (4%), BDO (1.8%), and other firms (4.7%).

Among the 2,768 entities that are considered non-accelerated filers or smaller reporting companies, Marcum took the top spot with 156 engagements (6%), followed by EY with 115 (4%), PwC with 113 (4%), MaloneBailey with 109 (4%), and BDO with 108 (4%).

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