Over the last 20 years or so, for one reason or another, accounting firms that were able to provide audit services to largest companies on Earth have been whittled down from 8 to 6 to 5 to 4. During this time, it became the concern of many (read: anyone not in the “Big” club) that the firms were too concentrated and audit quality was deteriorating due to the lack of competition.
Naturally, the firms at the top have dismissed this argument as bupkis. And because the public accounting industry is one that elected representatives and their constituents could give a rat crap about, the cries of the less fortunate firms have gone unheard.
Until recently that is. A report this summer that revealed the existence of “Big Four clauses” in credit agreements in the UK and that allowed the Grant Thorntons and BDOs of the world to have their “A-HA!” moment.
Deloitte, however, is not impressed with revelation and would like everyone to know that the audit biz is regular dog fight:
The audit market is “fiercely competitive and transparent” according to Big Four firm Deloitte, which sees no reason to open the top-heavy industry to greater competition.
Deloitte believes audit quality is “higher than ever” and said it has seen “no evidence of anti-competitive behaviour”, according to its submission to the upcoming House of Lords inquiry into audit competition.
“Our experience is that the listed-company audit market is one of the most competitive,” the firm said.
“The firm” presumably said this with a straight face.
Audit market is “fiercely competitive” Deloitte argue [Accountancy Age]