Big Four continue to dominate audit landscape – report
The Big Four accountancy firms continue to reign over the UK’s audit landscape, as they set their sights on companies sitting outside the FTSE 350.
The annual Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession report, published by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), found that the Big Four (EY, PwC, KPMG and Deloitte) experienced growth across all categories of fee income, in contrast to other Public Interest Entity (PIE) firms, which saw a collective decline.
The Big Four experienced a 4.6% aggregated audit fee income increase between 2014 and 2015, compared with a rise of 2.7% among other PIE firms.
The report also highlighted an increase in companies outside the FTSE 350 being audited by Big Four firms.
There is a continued decline in the number of firms providing audit services, the FRC said. 304 firms dropped their audit license between 2014 and 2015.
The report said that membership across accountancy bodies is continuing to grow. As of 31 December, all seven UK accountancy bodies detailed in the report had a total of 342,000 members in the UK and over 497,000 globally.
Conversely, the combined number of students has been on the decline. In the UK and Ireland there has been drop of 1.8% in student numbers.
ICAS, however, is bucking the overall trend of declining student numbers. Between 2014 and 2015, ICAS saw a 9.5% increase in its student population in the UK and Ireland. There was similar student growth globally, with a 9.6% increase across the same time period.