PracticeAccounting FirmsMid-tier in FTSE100 comeback

Mid-tier in FTSE100 comeback

BDO audit contract and GT ad campaign challenge Big Four's dominance

BDO Stoy Hayward is poised to become the first firm in seven years outside the Big Four to audit a FTSE100 company, placing the auditor in the vanguard of a mid-tier challenge to the country’s biggest firms.

Link: CIPFA members soon able to audit

The UK’s sixth biggest firm makes its challenge as auditor and reporting accountant for PartyGaming plc, the owner of the world’s biggest online poker website. It is set to go public on the LSE’s main board.

Forecasts suggest the gaming company’s summer flotation will raise between £5bn and £6bn, which would see PartyGaming rocket into the FTSE100 and position BDO as the first firm outside the Big Four to audit a FTSE100 client since Baker Tilly audited Securicor in 1998.

BDO could earn between £500,000 and £900,000 from the PartyGaming audit. ‘We are delighted that the company and its other advisers have recognised our skills and expertise in this sector,’ said BDO’s managing partner Jeremy Newman.

The news of BDO’s involvement with the PartyGaming IPO surfaced as Grant Thornton launched a new three-year advertising campaign.

With a strapline proclaiming: ‘Think beyond convention. Think beyond the Big Four’, Grant Thornton makes it clear that it intends to muscle in on the Big Four’s stranglehold on advisory services.

In a statement, Grant Thornton’s UK CEO Michael Cleary said the firm was ‘increasingly competing against the Big Four – and winning’, but added that there were still ‘key audiences’ unaware of Grant Thornton’s capabilities.

BDO was recently boosted when it took over three Numerica offices and there are plans to recruit 600 new professionals over the next three years.

Mike Rake, chairman of KPMG International, said: ‘Competition is a very good thing. The stronger the UK accountancy profession, the stronger the UK economy.’

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