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Deloitte Isn’t Buying This Big 4 Oligopoly Nonsense

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]

Accounting Salaries Are Dead Even; Is Big 4 Work Experience the Difference?

Last month we opened a thread on your salaries and your response was impressive. Just for fun, we found some poor soul to crunch some of the numbers so that we might share some information on the data we gathered.

We’ll start off with a post facing off the Big 4 salary against non-Big 4 salary. Here are the average salaries for each based on the data we collected:

Non-Big 4 – $72,136

Big 4 – $71,166

If you getting worked up over less than a $1,000 difference, then you’re more shrewd than we imagined. For the more reasonable of you, the discussion is, what are the unmentionables here? Both Big 4 and non-Big 4 firms have their advantages and many of you have made the jump from Big 4 to non-Big 4; non-Big 4 to Big 4; Big 4 to non-Big 4 back to Big 4, whatever.

A popular argument is that the Big 4 work experience is irreplaceable on a resumé but is it? Will potential employers really pick someone with a Big 4 background the majority of the time?

Most people would agree that auditing is auditing and the tax law is the same no matter where you work. Smaller firms have just a many unique clients as large firms so there’s experience to be gained everywhere.

Now before you start shouting, “if you want a job at a Fortune 500 company, blah, blah, blah” how many of those jobs are really out there? Enough so that everyone that has left a Big 4 firm will be able to find a job? Let’s not pretend we all have the same ambitions here.