Mid-tier bosses hit back at Big Four’s superiority complex

Two of the leading competitors to the Big Four have this week challenged the
traditional perception of the larger firms’ superiority.

Jeremy Newman, managing partner of BDO Stoy Hayward, has lashed out at Big
Four ‘arrogance’ and asserted that the mid-tier are more than capable of
matching the service offered by the giant firms.

Grant Thornton chief executive Michael Cleary also rubbished the concept of
league tables, saying that individual firms should be judged on their quality of

In an article in Accountancy Age this week, Newman said that
comments made last month by Peter Wyman, head of professional affairs at
PricewaterhouseCoopers, were typical of the Big Four’s haughtiness.

‘I totally reject Peter’s assertion that the Big Four have the “best people”
. The quality of people outside the Big Four is, in many cases, as good as, if
not better than, those who work in the Big Four,’ Newman said.

Cleary said that the market and media had become overly obsessed with tables
instead of the quality of service. If Grant Thornton could compete so
effectively on AIM, he argued, there was no reason why it should be less
successful at the larger end.

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