THE USE of mid-tier firms among PLCs is prevalent and rivals the Big Four, according to research.
In a survey of 2,500 FDs and managers by Pearlfinders, some 44% of PLCs reported they use the Big Four as auditors. However, a further 37% use mid-tier (the next 20 biggest) firms, while 19% use regional firms. In private companies, the mid-tier firms are the auditors on 36% of occasions, compared to 34% of regional firms – with the Big Four making up the rest.
The mid-tier are popular among the IT, education and property sectors, while the Big Four are stronger in clothing, media and homeware/electricals.
The research garnered a number of colourful quotes from FDs, including:
"I would consider using mid-tier firms if they had significant presence, and their name is well known." Group FD, broadcasting and new media company;
"As a rule, the company prefers to use mid-tier firms, mainly because of pricing, but also as it feels it gets a more personalised service from smaller firms." FD, specialist vending supplier;
"...An organisation of our size is expected to use one of the Big Four, but the relationship element can sometimes get lost when dealing with large firms." FD, engineering services company.
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