VODAFONE has put its audit out to tender for the time since its stock market listing, raising the prospect that Deloitte could lose a contract it has held for 26 years.
Deloitte was paid £8m in audit fees by Vodafone in 2013, plus £1m in audit-related fees and £400,000 in non-audit fees.
The move comes as European and UK policymakers are implementing new rules intended to open up the large-listed audit market to greater competition.
Vodafone, Britain’s second-largest listed company, originally announced it would put its audit contract on the market in its interim financial statement in November last year.
“In accordance with the UK corporate governance code, the Vodafone Group audit and risk committee has initiated a tender process for the statutory audit of the group together with related services for the year ending 31 March 2015,” the announcement said.
The process is expected to conclude next month, with a resolution proposing the appointment of the successful firm being put to shareholders at the 2014 annual general meeting.
Vodadfone is considering replacing Deloitte as its auditor following a Competition Commission report that suggested companies should tender their audit every ten years.
European politicians are currently pushing through rules that will force auditors to be replaced within a similar time period.
Notable audits to have changed hands recently include: Berkeley Group; Marks & Spencer; and Unilever.
Richard Kateley of Legal & General discusses the advantages of close cooperation between accountants and financial advisers
The Practitioner becomes frustrated with HMRC's approach to a client's VAT investigation
The firm has made key appointments to its executive team, including a new chief financial officer, and a sales and marketing director
Partners at the insolvency firm Craig Povey and Kevin Murphy were appointed liquidators on 2 February