KPMG takes top spot in stock market audit league table

The latest figures, from the Hemscott Quarterly Rankings of Auditors for
2007, show that KPMG now leads by nine, with 394 clients, over PwC’s 385.

The figures mean PwC has been unseated for the first time since the figures
were first compiled in 1998.

Richard Bennison, KPMG’s UK head of audit, said: ‘We picked up quite a mixed
bag of clients, some from Big Four firms, including PwC. Others have been
smaller companies that have outgrown a smaller auditor and now need a firm that
is used to dealing with more complex auditing,’ he said.

KPMG secured high-profile audit wins last year, such as De la Rue and the
Bank of England, which opted for KPMG after being audited by PwC and predecessor
firms since available records indicated.

The firm now also has 167 AIM-listed clients, the highest of any Big Four
firm in the mid market companies. ‘I knew we’d been gaining market share, as
we’ve been picking up a good number of clients in the middle market,’ said

Five years ago, PwC led the rankings with 444, while KPMG followed with 368.

Richard Sexton, PwC’s UK head of audit, said this week: ‘Audit is one of the
many facets of our business. Companies on the main market and AIM in the UK are
only part of the market that PwC serves and therefore one cannot draw
conclusions from something that measures part of the market in this way.’

It is unclear how many audits KPMG may have been picking up elsewhere. The
firm’s audit function grew by only a slender 2% last year, according to its most
recent annual report, with underlying growth, excluding one-offs such as
Sarbanes-Oxley and IFRS, of 8%.

Other firms have seen huge growth in audit fees recently, though many have
yet to report full-year figures, following expected declines in Sarbox and IFRS

Mid-tier firms such as BDO Stoy Hayward and Grant Thornton also recorded
significant gains in the table, reflecting in part the huge growth in AIM

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