Andrew Foster, head of the Audit Commission, announced on Monday that BKR Haines Watt has been awarded a major contract to audit small councils in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire as part of an effort to open up the lower end of the public sector audit market.
Currently PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and Robson Rhodes are the major private sector players for Commission work.
Haines Watt’s success came as Foster responded to criticism that the share of the Commission’s work going to private sector firms was too small.
Evidence given to a Commons select committee investigation by KPMG claimed a 30% share of the Commission’s work was too little for the private sector and more was needed to keep the firm’s interested.
Foster responded by stating the shares were not fixed and that the private sector is able to bid for more Commission work through ‘market testing’.He said the current domination of 70% of the market by the Commission’s own arms-length agency, District Audit, had come about purely as a result of competition.
‘We’re opening up the bottom end of our market to smaller firms who are more used to dealing with smaller accounts.
‘The 70-30 share is definitely not a fixed one. The truth is District Audit has been trying to protect its market share by getting better and better,’ he said.However, it is understood the firms have complained about the cost of market testing and recent criticism from KPMG is viewed as an effort to put pressure on the Commission to award them more work.
Cowgill Holloway and Warings Business Advisors have merged, with a range of growth plans in the North West put in place
New growth opportunities in Aberdeen, North East Scotland, are being invested in by Grant Thornton
If businesses do not take cyber security seriously in their business planning regulators may do it for them, the ICAEW has warned
The Financial Reporting Council has issued guidance regarding the annual reporting of 1,200 large and smaller listed companies. The letter highlighted the key issues and improvements that can be made in the 2016 reporting season