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July 25, 2018

FRC shows Big Four domination of FTSE 250 audit market

By Joe Pickard

Only seven of the UK’s FTSE 250 companies are audited by non-Big Four firms according to research conducted by the UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

The FRC’s Key facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession collated data on accountancy bodies’ membership and regulatory activities as well as data on the statutory audit market and firms. It found that only one of the FTSE 100 is audited by a non-Big Four firm, BDO.

Deloitte has the most FTSE 250 audit clients (68), followed by PwC (66), KPMG (59), and EY (48). Of the seven remaining FTSE250, Grant Thornton has four audit clients and BDO has three.

The report has been published at a pivotal time for the UK profession, as the Big Four and other mid-tier firms are currently in discussion as to how they can increase completion in the audit market.

Gender diversity

The FRC’s publication also showed that none of the Big four firms had more than 19% of females make up their total number of principals and no more than 8% of BAME principals.

The publication, which is now in its 16th year, introduced additional diversity indicators that were not previously asked for. The indicators are ethnicity, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation, school type attended, first generation to attend university and caring responsibilities.

Of these, three of the indicators (religion/belief, sexual orientation and caring opportunities) are not currently being recorded at any of the seven bodies which featured in the report.

Four of the seven accountancy bodies collect information on the ethnicity of their members and students with an average completion rate of 70%.

FRC executive director of audit and actuarial regulation Melanie Hind said: “The benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce are well documented. The FRC is planning an event on diversity later in the year at which we will discuss with, and encourage the bodies and firms, to continue collecting diversity data and look at how to attract and develop talent from a wider cross section of society.”

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