EY boss hits back at calls to break up Big Four

 
Jessica Clark
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Auditors came under the spotlight this year after it emerged that KPMG had signed off Carillion as a going concern nine months before before it entered compulsory liquidation (Source: Getty)
he global chief executive of EY has hit back at criticism of the Big Four financial services firms, which have been slammed for the lack of competition in the audit market following high-profile corporate collapses.


The company, which today announced boosted global revenue of $34.8bn in the financial year to the end of June, came under fire along with PwC, KPMG and Deloitte after the failure of construction giant Carillion and department store BHS.

Read more: Carillion was 'like a Ponzi scheme' with a 'culture of fear'

Global chief executive Mark Weinberger told the Financial Times that the "multi-disciplinary" nature of the businesses was beneficial to carrying out audits.

He said: "We audit Google, Amazon, Facebook, Salesforce and Oracle — you could not serve those clients without a multidisciplinary group of people to assess their risks going forward as a business, and [those employees] don’t all sit in our audit practice. People lose sight of that.

“I believe that a multi-disciplinary practice enhances our audits.”

Auditors came under the spotlight this year after it emerged that KPMG had signed off Carillion as a going concern nine months before before it entered compulsory liquidation.

All four of the dominant financial services companies were hired by Carillion at various stages and the parliamentary report that followed the collapse called on the competition watchdog to split the firms up.

Accountancy giant PwC has also been slammed for its audit of BHS, which it gave a clean bill of health before the retailer went under in 2016.

The Financial Reporting Council said in June that the quality of audits conducted by the Big Four had declined due to "a number of factors, including a failure to challenge management and show appropriate scepticism across their audits."

Read more: Pensions watchdog says Dominic Chappell knew BHS was bust when he bought it

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