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KPMG India becomes leading firm by audit fee

KPMG India has jumped up two ranks to become the leading firm in the country, by audit fees paid out by companies listed on the National Stock exchange of India (NSE), according to a report by Prime Database Group.

The firm overtook EY and Deloitte after almost doubling its fees last year of INR 116.73 crore ($16.7m) to INR 216.38 crore. PwC came in fourth place.

Notably, Deloitte suffered a reduction of 109.61% in audit fees, down to INR 116.11 crore for FY 2017–2018

Based on 1,621 companies for which data was available, Prime Database said the total audit fees paid by companies listed on the NSE were INR 2,000 crore.

The Big Four dominated the market with a 32% share of audit fees. They also maintained dominance by volume of assignments, as they audited 482 assignments of the total 1,737 companies, or 28%.

Auditor rotation is taking place in 222 NSE-listed companies during 2017–2018 compared to 2016–2017 when 1016 companies changed their auditors. Regulations on auditor rotation was introduced in India on 1 April 2017.

It is predicted by Prime Database Group that in 2018–2019 as many as 860 audit firms will audit the 1,737 companies currently listed on the NSE which is a reduction from 925 audit firms which audited 1,703 of the 1,708 companies listed on NSE as of 31 March 2018.

The dominance of the Big Four in the Indian listed market is not unlike the current situation in the UK. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is currently investigating ways to improve competition in the FTSE 350 audit market.

Similar as in the UK, in India there is a big gap between the fee income of the fourth largest auditor, PwC at INR 114.35 crore, and the fifth largest, Walker Chandiok & Co at INR 52.20 crore.

The International Accounting Bulletin has approached KPMG and Deloitte for comment.

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