Audit Partners, which together earn the vast majority of FTSE 350 audit fees, said they were concerned they could be accused of breaking competition law if they helped.
However, the FT said that partners which together earn 98% of FTSE 350 audit fees, said they were concerned they could be accused of breaking competition law if they helped. Delivering training to specific firms could lead to accusations of locking others out of the market, a partner at one of the firms told the paper.
Small and mid-sized firms have reportedly called on bigger firms, as they have had the resources to invest in improving their audits and modernising their technology in response to stricter regulation due to auditing failures and corporate scandals.
Martin Muirhead, chair of the Association of Practising Accountants, told The Financial Times: “Part of the problem is there isn’t enough knowledge sitting outside of the Big Four. The top firms have learnt a lot over the last five years since Carillion about quality and audit methodology, and educating us would assist us in improving audit quality.
“Smaller firms do not have the resources to invest in the technology the Big Four use.”
The Big Four told the Financial Times that they were open to talks on helping smaller rivals win highly regulated audits of public interest entities (PIEs), which are large listed companies and privately owned financial groups and insurers.
Writes Corina Duma in Accountancy Today