Sarbox cuts Big Four advisory fees

Bold: Sarbanes-Oxley forces company to re-hire FD

The dramatic decline in non-audit fees was recorded by BDO Stoy Hayward. Their research found that between 2001 and 2002 there was a marked fall in the volume of work referred to the Big Four from UK companies with a dual listing in the US.

These firms, about 150 in total, are the most affected by the introduction of the act.

Sarbanes-Oxley came into force in July 2002 was introduced in the wake of the Enron scandal by the US government.

It was an attempt by the Bush administration to clamp down on Stateside corporate wrong-doing but also impacted on overseas firms with a secondary listing on Wall Street.

PricewaterhouseCoopers saw their fees drop from £328m to £197m – a drop of £131million or 40%.

Deloitte and Touche saw their fees drop from £62million to £48, a 22% drop, while Ernst and Young fell from £62m to £50m (19%).

Only KPMG bucked the trend with non-audit fees jumping from £89million to £99million, a 12% jump.

Gervase MacGregor, the partner who carried out the research, said the decline was significant even in then light of economic conditions and the selling off of non-audit arms by companies such as PwC and KPMG.

‘A drop of 27%, or £147m in consultancy projects is very large and out of proportion to the generally flat economic conditions facing accountants over the past couple of years,’ he said.

During the same period audit fees only increased by three per cent.

Related reading