BDO uses personal touch to win more FTSE audits

The letters, written by the firm’s managing partner Jeremy Newman, request
meetings with the FDs to discuss the barriers to competition and choice in the
audit market.

Newman sent out the first batch of documents to 50 FDs shortly after the
Oxera report on competition and choice in the audit market was published by the
Department of Trade in Industry. A second wave of letters went out to another 50
FDs before the end of last year.

The campaign appears to have been well-received, with at least 20 FDs so far
having agreed to meet up with BDO Stoy Hayward, while others have shown interest
in finding out more about the firm.

‘I have been overwhelmed by the positive response (to the letter campaign) –
about 20 of the “first group” of 50 FDs agreed to meet us. I am now getting
responses from the “second group” and they are equally keen to meet with us,’
Newman said in a posting on his personal blog.

Newman said all the FDs that had met with the firm so far had referred to the
‘invisible barriers’ that forced them to ‘keep their audit work with the Big

Newman said overcoming these obstacles would have to be done on a
company-by-company basis.

‘Unfortunately there is no consistency about how to address these barriers –
we clearly need to understand them for each company and then find ways to
address them on an individual basis. Not an easy task,’ Newman said.

The BDO Stoy Hayward managing partner also raised the issue of audit fees,
arguing that fees had ‘hardened’ and that the lack of choice in the market was
having ‘an adverse effect on a company’s ability to negotiate’.

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