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November 7, 2012

EU businesses want increased audit market diversity

Almost two thirds of EU businesses want more diversity in audit markets, with 51% supporting mandatory audit firm rotation, and only 21% opposing, according to a report by Experian for Grant Thornton International.

The findings, from an August and September survey of 3,000 businesses, including 951 EU companies, showed that globally 69% of respondents supported more diverse audit markets, with 22% disagreeing.

In Europe Greek support for diversity was strongest at 84%, with 80% in Italy and Ireland, 78% in Poland, and 77% and 74% in France and the UK respectively.

Support for mandatory rotation was strongest in Ireland at 84%, then Spain at 75%, Greece and France at 68% and Poland at 64%.

Out of all EU businesses, 54% thought all large public companies should be audited by two firms to increase public confidence, while 40% disagreed. Greek and Polish companies were most in favour with 82% support, followed by Spain at 73%, France at 72% and Italy at 66%.

Grant Thornton International CEO Edward Nusbaum said the company welcomed "further research and discussions aimed at providing more feedback on the need for change in the structure of the EU audit market". He continued that while "EU businesses are saying that auditor concentration is an issue", auditor rotation alone is "only one possible part of the solution."

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