The Forum of Firms is delivering commercial
benefits to members while helping generate a more level playing
field for the mid-tier, according to Forum of Firms chairman Robert

Following the recent admission of Kreston
International as the newest FoF member, Dohrer told the
International Accounting Bulletin the forum is receiving
much greater recognition as being a kitemark for audit quality.

“More recently, what we’ve begun to realise is
that there are various regulators and organisations that are
beginning to look membership of the Forum of Firms as being a
prerequisite or a qualifying characteristic to have the opportunity
to bid on audit work in certain countries,” Dohrer said.

“Anecdotally, we hear that Forum of Firm
member firms are getting opportunities to bid on work, so we do
think it has been a commercial benefit that has been realised, but
probably more so in the last 12 to 18 months.”

Industry recognition is an important milestone
for the Forum of Firms. Previously, some members have complained
that FoF membership does not deliver enough commercial value
because it is not being recognised as a stamp of quality in the

Baker Tilly International left the FoF in 2009
because it did not believe the cost of membership was delivering
enough commercial value to its firms.

Two years on and the FoF appears to be gaining
traction amongst important regulators and global bodies, such as
the World Bank.

A more level playing

Dohrer, the national director of assurance at
US firm McGladrey, said FoF membership has helped the firm compete
more evenly with the Big Four as companies are starting to
recognise the FoF as a mark of quality.

“The ability to represent a member firm as
being a member of the Forum of Firms puts it on a more level
playing field [with the Big Four] than was the case before,” he

“I don’t think it would be fair to say the
playing field has been completely levelled, I think there is
recognition that the Big Four had a dominant position with respect
to global audit work.

“The benefit of being a member has helped
McGladrey in obtaining work, particularly in areas of the world
that RSM International member firms may not be in the top five or
six firms in that country. Being a member of the Forum of Firms
brings credibility to the process.”

The International Accounting Bulletin
understands that networks who are not FoF members, such as Baker
Tilly International and Nexia International, are in dialogue with
the FoF and reviewing the value of joining the group.