Public companies saw a 5 percent increase in the fees they pay to external auditors last year, while private companies reported a 7 percent rise, according to a new survey from Financial Executives International.

The average audit fees of companies with centralized operations were significantly less than those with decentralized operations, for both public and privately held companies. Public companies reported paying an average of $3.9 million in total audit fees for fiscal year 2011, an increase of 5 percent from the audit fees that the same respondents paid for their prior fiscal-year audit.

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