The US Big Four have increased the amount they
spend on lobbyists to $9.4m as pressure mounts over the Public
Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) audit reform
In the 2011 congressional disclosure reports,
Deloitte spent $3m on lobbyists, followed by PwC with $2.7m, Ernst
& Young $2.2m and KPMG $1.5m, according to news agency
The lobbying budget of the largest US firms
has increased nearly two-fold since records of Big Four lobbying
efforts began in 1999.
The money spent in 2011 is the highest amount
since 2002 when the Enron scandal resulted in the collapse of
accounting firm Arthur Anderson, leading to the creation of
Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the PCAOB.
According to Reuters, a significant
portion of the Big Four money goes towards trying to influence the
audit regulator, which last year launched a consultation on auditor
independence and mandatory audit firm rotation as a way to enhance
independence, objectivity and professional scepticism.
EC lobbying intensifies
Much like the US, Big Four firms in Europe are
also spending increasing amounts on lobbying against similar
proposals from the European Commission, which are currently being
assessed by the European Parliament in order to water them down
before they become law.
The cost of lobbying in Europe is not
disclosed, however, it is believed there are about 60 European
lobbyists working for PwC alone.
Reuters said other Big Four lobbying
efforts in the US involve topics such as policies that could affect
consulting work the firms do on contract for US agencies, while a
proportion of lobbying money could not be traced to its cause.