The Big Four dominated Audit Analytics’ latest ranking of firms that audit US public companies, with Ernst & Young (EY) sweeping the field with 994 companies, a 14.3 percent market share.
PricewaterhouseCoopers was second with 717 companies (10.3 percent), followed by KPMG with 692 companies (10 percent) and Deloitte & Touche with 664 companies (9.6 percent).
The other six audit firms comprising the top 10, according to Audit Analytics’ Who Audits Public Companies report, includes:
BDO USA, 291 companies, 4.2 percent
Grant Thornton, 259 companies, 3.7 percent
MaloneBailey, 221 companies, 3.2 percent
Marcum, 133 companies, 1.9 percent
RSM US, 129 companies, 1.9 percent
Anton & Chia, 112 companies, 1.6 percent
Combined, these firms audited 4,212 of the 6,935 US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) public registrants. That’s just shy of 61 percent and an increase of 3.8 percentage points from 2014, according to the report.
The top six firms, referred to as the “Global Six” by Audit Analytics, also had the largest share (96.8 percent) of the market for the 2,005 large accelerated filers, with EY at the top.
The Global Six also led in auditing accelerated filers (71.9 percent share) and nonaccelerated filers (66 percent). However, the firms actually saw a decrease in market share in these two categories over 2014 when their share was 77.4 percent and 70.2 percent, respectively.
The rankings are far different for smaller public companies, with the top six claiming about a quarter (23.2 percent) of the market share. The remaining 76.8 percent is divvied up among hundreds of other firms, and only Grant Thornton and BDO USA audit more than 2 percent of smaller companies, the report states.
In Audit Analytics’ 2014 report, the top six firms’ rankings were the same, with a 56.9 percent market share of the 4,035 companies audited among 7,093 SEC registrants.
Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.