Auditor 'Value' Rating Scores a Dismal 'D'

Attention auditors: corporate America has graded the value you are providing them and your report card doesn't look too good.

Auditors, as a group, received an overall score of 61 out of 100, according to the results of a just-released survey conducted by market research firm NFO WorldGroup. "This low rating is reflected in client evaluation of auditor performance," according to NFO.

The auditor score compares, rather unfavorably, with general business service providers who scored an 80, and "superior" professional service providers who scored above a 90. Other findings:

  • Fifty five percent of companies would recommend their auditor to other companies, as compared to an 80% referral rate among other professional service providers.

  • More than 20% fewer companies rated their auditor as "excellent" or "very good," as compared to how they rated other professional services providers.

"The problem isn’t integrity—it is value," explains Shubhra Ramchandani, stakeholder management practice leader for North America at NFO, who headed up the study. "Most clients rate their outside accountants’ business ethics very highly, but what they question is the performance and value of the services they receive."

Using its relationship and reputation management survey tool, the NFO survey measures the following:

  • Customer relationships - satisfaction and loyalty
  • Employee commitment - satisfaction, motivation, enhancement, working climate
  • Shareholder confidence - trust, intensity of involvement
  • Internal service quality - cooperation between departments
  • Leadership - management effectiveness
  • Supplier advantage - partnership strength, value