It was a year of ups and downs for auditors serving Securities and Exchange Commission clients, with mixed results for firms of all sizes. Big Four auditing firms Ernst & Young and KPMG came out of 2012 on high note in the market, ending the year with respectable gains, and dominating the league tables on a number of measures. (See our list of major firm wins and losses.)
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They weren't the only firms with reason to be pleased with themselves, though, as several other auditors turned in noteworthy performances, including BDO USA, Marcum, Anderson Bradshaw, MaloneBailey and Weinberg & Co.
As tracked by audit analysis provider Audit Analytics, though, the two Big Four firms named above were among the strongest overall, leading the gainers in the markets for large accelerated filers and accelerated filers, as well as topping the list for highest combined market cap of new engagements, and largest amount of revenue audited. Ernst & Young came out of 2012 with a net seven new SEC audit clients, and the lead in market cap and revenues audited (see our Leaders table) -- helped, no doubt, by picking up high-profile engagements like Netflix and pharmaceutical concern Abbott Labs (the latter alone has a market cap close to $90 billion, and revenues close to $40 billion). KPMG, meanwhile, added a net six new clients, and the top spot for new accelerated filer clients with wins like poultry processor Pilgrim's Pride and rental store chain Rent-A-Center.
BEYOND THE BIG FOUR
Among national and large firms, though, special note must be made of New York-based Top 100 Firm Marcum, which picked up a net 15 clients. Given the expertise of its Marcum Bernstein & Pinchuk arm -- created by the merger of its China practice with Bernstein & Pinchuk in late 2010 -- it's no surprise that several of those were Chinese companies, but many of the largest were U.S.-based companies like telecommunications equipment manufacturer Zoom Technologies and media and ticket sales concern Hollywood Media.
And BDO USA should be noted for picking up a net 13 new SEC audit clients. Some came from its fall acquisition of Philadelphia accounting firm Asher & Co, but the majority -- like the trio of tech and manufacturing businesses, Exar Corp., Exact Sciences Corp. and Brooks Automation, that are its three largest grabs by market cap - were picked up from other auditors.
Another performance that was worth highlighting was that of Houston-based MaloneBailey, which picked up an impressive net 26 smaller reporting companies. (Anderson Bradshaw notched an even higher number of smaller reporters, at 31, but almost all of them came from Child, Van Wagoner & Bradshaw, of which Anderson Bradshaw is the successor firm. Similarly, CohnReznick topped our overall list of engagements, but the vast majority of those are from a predecessor firm, Reznick Group, which combined with fellow Top 100 Firm J.H. Cohn late in 2012.)
Finally, we'll shine a spotlight on Weinberg & Co., the only non-Top 100 Firm to break into the top ranks of audit fees for new client engagements. With over $4 million from its net eight new clients, it truly punched above its weight, joining the likes of the Big Four firms, Grant Thornton and Crowe Horwath.