Deloitte and Moss Adams attracted the most SEC audit clients in 2017

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Big Four firm Deloitte and Top 100 Firm Moss Adams topped the charts of new Securities and Exchange Commission audit clients brought on in 2017.

Deloitte signed on 41 new engagements, and netted 21 for the year, putting it well above the rest of its large-firm peers. (See “Overall 2017 Client Gains & Losses.”)

Seattle-based Moss Adams netted the most new engagements, with 36 out of its 37 new clients, thanks largely to its fourth-quarter merger with Denver-based Top 100 Firm Hein & Associates, which brought in 33 clients. (See “Net Engagement Leaders.”)

The firm also took on the most smaller reporting companies for the year, with 29, while Deloitte led in terms of new large accelerated filers, with 17, and new accelerated filers, with 12, and tied with fellow Big Four firm Ernst & Young for the most non-accelerated filers, at five each. (See Audit Leaders.”)

Its strong performance across the year helped Deloitte come tops of all three league tables of market capitalization audited, assets audited and audit fees. In terms of market cap, the standout client was IT consulting and services company DXC Technology Co., which accounted for $29 billion of Deloitte’s $80.1 billion. DXC also contributed $33 billion to the firm’s $223 billion in new assets audited, along with mutual fund company Northern Institutional Fund’s $77 billion, and investment hold company Leucadia National Corp.’s $45 billion. No particular client stood out in terms of audit fees; the firm took first based on volume alone. (See “New Client Leaders.”)

EY took second in market cap audited, with $41 billion, the biggest single chunk of which was ham-masters Smithfield Foods’ $14.4 billion.
PricewaterhouseCoopers took second in new assets audited, at $78 billion; $33.8 billion came from BlackRock Funds, and $21.61 billion from natural gas transmission company Spectra Energy Partners.

Finally, KPMG came in second in new audit fees, with in-flight entertainment company Global Eagle Entertainment contributing $18.87 million and energy services company Avangrid accounting for $16.16 million.

Acquisition methods

Moss Adams wasn’t the only firm that brought on new clients through mergers, nor was it the only one to bring on big blocks of clients all from the same previous auditor. Among the other firms expanding their client rosters in these ways were:

  • The closing of Minnesota-based KLJ & Associates boosted a number of firms, including Salt Lake City’s Sadler, Gibb & Associates, which got 12 former KLJ clients (and led the league tables for the third quarter of 2017) ; Salt Lake City’s Pritchett Siler & Hardy, which got three; and Seattle’s Michael Gillespie & Associates, which got five.
  • Assurance Dimensions picked up nine new engagements when it merged in fellow Florida firm D’Arelli Pruzansky in May.
  • CPA Patrick Heyn merged his practice with Soles & Co. in January 2017, giving the resulting West Palm Beach, Fla.-based firm, Soles Heyn & Co., a bump of five new clients.
  • California’s WWC CPAs got a bump of four new clients from Hong Kong-based Anthony Kam & Associates, after Kam and his firm were banned from doing audits of U.S. listed companies by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

Data for the quarterly rankings are provided by Audit Analytics, a premium online intelligence service delivering audit, regulatory and disclosure analysis. Reach them at (508) 476-7007, or

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Audits Audit preparation Client strategies Client retention Client acquisition SEC PCAOB