Among the UK FTSE 350 there could be as many as 56 audit tenders in 2014, compared to 30 tenders in 2013 and 18 in 2012, according to PwC UK data.
The data indicates that as many as one in seven FTSE 350 companies could put their audit contract for tender this year.
As of 8 July, 17 companies had completed tenders this year, 14 tenders had kicked off and seven more companies had put out notifications that they are considering tenders, according to the Big Four firm. "There are 18 other companies expected to review their audit arrangements," PwC said.
PwC UK said these numbers indicate that companies are taking action before the EU rules on mandatory rotation require them to change auditors as well as in response to the Financial Reporting Council’s "Comply or Explain" ten-year tendering regime becoming active on 1 October 2012.
PwC UK head of assurance James Chalmers described the tendering activity as at "unprecedented levels".
"Now that there is greater clarity on the implications of the EU rules, companies are able to make decisions on when to tender at a time that makes most sense for their particular circumstances. For some, that means going early, for others it means going later, but – crucially- the choice is still theirs to make."