CFOs Unhappy With Big Four Audit Fees

Only about half the CFOs, controllers and chief accounting officers in a new survey would recommend their current auditors to their peers, and the audit firms associated with the other half should feel “vulnerable,” the report said.

BTI Consulting Group, which surveyed 259 global CFOs and others, in a new report says discontent with the Big Four firms is growing, as satisfaction has shown dramatic drops over the last few years, reported. When respondents were asked whether they recently replaced or are planning to replace their audit firm, more than 25% said yes.

Respondents’ main wish lists for better relationships with their auditors included such efforts as “boost understanding of the client’s business,” “increase client focus and communication,” “manage continuity better,” “improve explanation of materiality,” and “decrease just-in-time management,” according to

Of the Big Four, PwC got the best grades, with KPMG placing second and Ernst & Young at third and Deloitte fourth. “PwC is strongest in understanding the client’s business—the single biggest differentiator,” says Michael B. Rynowecer, president of BTI Consulting Group.

At the same time, companies are spending more on services. Respondents on average spent $2.3 million on audit fees in 2012, up from $2.2 million during 2011.