Grant Thornton has 4,500 staff in the UK, and more than 40,000 worldwide, and they say that there is not really any major reason to change the current hegemony in the FTSE audit space - which comprises PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young.
They explained that there are a lot of tenders going on, but that they are all still staying within the ‘big four’. The Cmpeition Commission introduced a new rule in 2013 which required FTSE 350 companies to put their contracts out to tender every ten years. The hope was that it would open the market to more competition, and give more firms a chance to win audit work. However, the end result has been that the same few firms are getting work every time. Under the rules, an accountancy firm that has provided services for 20 years will not be allowed to compete in a tender for that business a third time. While companies are changing auditors, there has been little to no benefit for smaller accountancy firms. Preparing a tender for a big company can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, so few small accountancy companies are willing to even try to enter the market.