The number of audit firms and
qualified auditors in the UK continues to decline despite the
overall growth of the accounting industry, according to new figures
released by the UK’s oversight body.

The Professional Oversight Board (POB), part of the Financial
Reporting Council, found a 23.5 percent decline in the number of
registered audit firms from 11,211 in 2002 to 8,754 in 2007.

The sixth edition of Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy
also highlighted some positive trends for the
industry. The six chartered bodies have grown their membership to
more than 275,000 members and 165,000 students in the UK and
Republic of Ireland.

POB director Paul George said larger registered audit firms now
consistently generate more income from non-audit clients than their
audit clients. He added: “While the Big Four firms continue to
dominate the audit market for the largest listed companies, it is
interesting to note the increased market shares of non-Big Four
firms for listed companies outside of the FTSE 350.”