The signs of confidence in smaller auditors will cheer the mid-tier and those
below them, especially given recent AIM auditor figures, which appeared to
indicate that the Big Four were gaining ground.
‘While the Big Four audit firms may dominate the main market, most investors
say this is not important on AIM, and AIM companies will do as well with a top
ten auditor,’ said Chilton Taylor, head of capital markets at Baker Tilly, who
conducted the survey.
The survey found that 84% of AIM companies said that they were satisfied with
the ongoing advice from their nomad and 87% were happy with their auditor.
Only 4% of junior exchange investors considered it ‘very important’ to have
company books signed off by a Big Four firm.
The junior exchange has traditionally been the stamping ground of the
mid-tier auditors, while the Big Four have focussed on pre-IPO advice and a
handful of the largest AIM companies.
But despite the general optimism, some FDs have traded mid-tier auditors for
a Big Four firm because of company growth or in a move to reassure the City
after profit warnings.
Before it announced accounting errors earlier this year, which claimed the
scalp of its finance director Paul Billett, executive search firm Hat Pin
dropped its auditors BDO for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
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