Stoys wins #170,000 tender to audit Ernst & Young’s books, reports Jon Bunn.

BDO Stoy Hayward has beaten off three Group A rivals to land a #170,000 contract to audit Ernst & Young’s books.

Stoys, led by partners Mike Haan and Simon Bevan, saw off Robson Rhodes, Clark Whitehill and Pannell Kerr Forster in a beauty parade to clinch the lucrative deal. Grant Thornton was invited to tender, but declined due to a conflict of interest.

Nick Land, E&Y’s senior partner, said opening up the firm’s books was a ‘sensible’ decision and one he wished had been taken ten years ago.

He condemned the ‘cloak of secrecy’ that has traditionally shrouded accountancy firms.

Land said: ‘Limited liability partnerships are going to come in, so we are going to have to publish our accounts anyway. We are just taking another step to move the Big Six into the real world.’

Stoys’ Bevan, chairman of the firm’s professional practices group, said: ‘E&Y is a very open firm and we have an open-book assignment just like any other client – which is more than we expected.’

Bevan, who said Stoys would publish its report for the year to 26 June to E&Y partners in September before a full October release to the public, said his new client was keen to exchange business ideas. ‘E&Y wanted to talk about the business and we will be bringing more than just an audit perspective to them.’

E&Y intends to have formulated plans for a tie-up with a legal firm by the end of the year. Senior partner Nick Land said the firm had drawn up a shortlist of second-tier City firms to hold talks with.

Insiders suggested the list includes Simmons & Simmons, Denton Hall, Rowe & Maw and Cameron McKenna.

Land said talks about creating a legal associate were held up by the abortive merger with KPMG.

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