Big Four owe public interest not to ditch audit, says KPMG chair

THE UK’s largest auditors have a public interest commitment to retain their mature audit businesses despite more lucrative growth prospects elsewhere, the chairman of KPMG has said.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Simon Collins, KPMG’s UK chairman, said the profession “can’t afford” to reduce client choice in the large-listed audit market.

His comments come as the Big Four firms have been steadily rebuilding their consultancy arms through a series of bolt on acquisitions in order to compensate for stagnating growth for traditional audit work.

Growth in consultancy among the Big Four is outpacing their traditional tax and audit services, while the firms are also outperforming management consultants.

Management Consultancies Association (MCA) members, which include the Big Four’s consultancy arms, posted £5.2bn in fees during the last year, up 8.4% on the previous period. The Big Four’s consultancies grew by 10.75%.

According to the latest Accountancy Age Top 50+50 supported by Wolter Kluwer, KPMG receives more fees for its consultancy work than it does for vetting client accounts. In the last financial year KPMG’s consultancy are grew 12.8% to £598m, while audit grew by 2.9% to £495m. 

KPMG rivals Deloitte announced today that its UK consulting revenue grew by 10.5% to £687m for year ended 31 May 2015, while audit rose by 0.3% to £708m.

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