As it has for the past two years, over the course of 2015 Top 10 Firm BDO USA led the large firm pack in new SEC audit clients, bringing on 42 new engagements overall, and netting 17. (See “2015 Client Gains & Losses.”)
While BDO became only the seventh firm to top a billion dollars in revenue in 2015, two smaller firms actually outpaced it in new SEC clients: New York-based RBSM, with 64 new engagements and a net of 40, and Texas’ MaloneBailey, with 61 new engagements and a net of 30. (See “Net Engagement Leaders.”)
RBSM started off 2015 strongly by merging in Las Vegas-based LL Bradford & Co. in January, a union that brought in over 30 new clients. The firm also picked up 14 clients from De Joya Griffith, which is no longer auditing public companies. An 8-K cited by the Auditor Carousel blog said that at least one principal from De Joya Griffith had joined RBSM. Overall, the firm led the list of new smaller reporting clients (See “Audit Leaders.”)
MaloneBailey came a close second in smaller reporting clients, but unlike several of the big gainers in clients, no single previous auditor accounted for a significant portion of its new engagements – they came from a wide range of other firms. That’s unusual, particularly among smaller firms: Generally speaking, the departure of a firm from the SEC arena, whether through merger or otherwise, often results in one firm getting the lion’s share of their engagement. That said, though, it’s rare to see all of those clients end up in one place – usually a scattering show up elsewhere.
Here’s a short sampling of the auditing firms that took on a significant number of new clients from a single source:
- Stevenson & Co. in Tampa, Fla., got 20 of its 25 new engagements from DKM CPAs, which was reported to be withdrawing from SEC work this year.
- Gillespie & Associates of Seattle picked up 19 of 20 new clients from Seattle-based Harris & Gillespie, which has its registration with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board revoked.
- Pritchett, Siler & Hardy of Salt Lake City gained 18 of its 19 new clients by merging in the audit practice of Colorado’s Cutler & Co.
- Heaton & Co. in Utah picked up three-quarters of its 12 new audit clients from Anderson Bradshaw, which, according to several 8-Ks, has shuttered its SEC practice.
- Maine’s Baker Newman Noyes got its eight new engagements by merging in the external audit practice of Massachusetts-based Shatswell MacLeod in April 2015.
- MJF & Associates in California got six of its eight new engagements from Goldman Kurland & Mohidin, which planned to deregister from the PCAOB, according to 8-Ks.
Big Four firm Deloitte brought on 31 new audit clients over 2015, which helped it top our rankings in terms of new market capitalization audited, new assets audited and new audit fees. (See “New Client Leaders.”)
Its standout client from market cap was power distribution company PPL Corp., with over $22 billion of the firm’s reported $7- billion in new market cap audited. It also accounted for $39 billion of Deloitte’s $104 billion in assets audited, with real estate investment trust VEREIT Inc. contributing another $21 billion. PPL also made up $8.1 million of the firm’s $67.7 million in new audit fees, with VEREIT chiming in with $7.2 million and electronic instrument maker ITron Inc. another $7.7 million.
Data for the rankings are provided by Audit Analytics, a premium online intelligence service delivering audit, regulatory and disclosure analysis. Reach them at (508) 476-7007, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.auditanalytics.com.
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