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US GAO report on consolidation in the accounting profession

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13 Aug 2003

A new report by the US General Accounting Office on Public Accounting Firms: Mandated Study on Consolidation and Competition (PDF 1,992k) includes a survey of independent auditors of SEC-registered companies.

Based on responses from 47 firms, the GAO found:

  • 49% of the accounting firms said that changes in and growing complexity of accounting and auditing standards had a "great upward influence" on their costs in the past decade, and 51% said those factors had a "moderate upward influence".
  • 28% of the accounting firms said that changes in and growing complexity of accounting and auditing standards had a "great upward influence" on their fees in the past decade; 64% said those factors had a "moderate upward influence"; and 7% said they had "little or no influence".
  • 37% of the accounting firms said that changes in and growing complexity of accounting and auditing standards had a made it "much harder" to maintain audit quality in the past decade; 57% said those factors made it "somewhat harder" to maintain quality; and 7% said they had "little or no effect" on audit quality.

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