Leaky big four accounting firms: Heal yourselves

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It is not yet a revolution but stakeholders are chafing against the spate of audit inefficiency especially by the world ‘Big Four’ Accounting Firms (Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY). In 2018, they had a combined revenue of approximately one hundred and forty-eight billion US dollars and over one million staff across the globe. Over the years, a long list of scandals has battered the image and sense of value of the Big Four. It has been a case of moral and ethical famine such that discussions about the future of the Big Four are no longer one of intense fascination but of despair and frustration. As the leaky bucket of integrity drips, it seems only a few stakeholders still maintain an optimistic view of the future of the Big Four- those who believe that things will get better and those who maintain bright outlook because the non-Big Four firms do not offer any viable alternatives worth considering. But for the majority of stakeholders, there is nothing good anymore to be expected from Nazareth of the audit profession.

The question, really is, are the so-called ‘the Big Four’ accounting firms really ‘big’ in the classical sense of the word? Are they not actually networks of local firms in various jurisdictions that have a claim to a common brand and exploiting that brand status to be of some disservice to the public interest? No wonder, some stakeholders are of the view that it is becoming evident that it might be better having small excellent firms than big mediocre ones in the audit market.

There is no organization righteous in the earth that keeps doing right things and does not sin. But, where supposedly renowned audit firms are leaky in quality and guilty of other serious malfeasances, then breach … Read More...