This month’s poll focuses on the UK’s top accountancy firms. Participants were asked: ‘With many people attributing at least some of the blame for the collapse of services firm Carillion to the ‘big four’ UK accounting firms, should their oligopoly on the audit market be reviewed?’
Of those who responded to the advisers network poll, 70% believe the four firms should be allowed to maintain their control over the market. They suggest their multinational presence provides a broad and effective network of services, while the competition between the four is enough to provide reasonable fees for customers.
Others stated that capable regulation and greater accountability is essential to maintaining these standards. This is expanded on by the 30% of advisers who suggest the big four firms should be reformed, expressing concerns over recent controversies. However, the practicality of such reform was cited as a major obstacle.
The social media poll echoed these conclusions, with 75% of respondents feeling that the big four should stay together.
Auditing failures are simply due to management weaknesses that can be corrected. The growth of these firms is a challenge to deliver increasingly effective services to the financial system generally.
Peter Gray, Berkeley Capital
Auditors should lose their license if the quality of their auditing is below acceptable standards. And large fines should be considered.
Jens Thomsen, formerly Danmarks Nationalbank
The issue is improving the quality and integrity of the audit process. More competition would be more likely to cut audit fees than achieve these aims.
Colin Robertson, SW1 Consulting
No, but audit firms and their partners should be made more accountable in in case of gross negligence.
Olivier Rousseau, Fonds de réserve pour les retraites
No. Four firms should be enough to provide competition if properly regulated and supervised.
Irena Asmundson, California Department of Finance