The GAO has issued a report, Public Accounting Firms--Mandated Study on Consolidation and Competition. Its observations were far more startling than its findings.

That doesn't mean the findings aren't interesting such as the statement, "Domestically and globally, there are only a few large firms capable of auditing large public companies, which raises potential choice, price, quality, and concentration risk concerns." Or the one that, "[S]maller accounting firms faced significant barriers to entry--including lack of staff, industry and technical expertise, capital formation, global reach, and reputation--into the large public company audit market."

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