Crowe dominates charity sector audits

Crowe continues to dominate the audit market in the charity sector, according to a report which shows that over a quarter of charities have used the same auditor for more than ten years and only half of charities have an audit tendering process

The annual Charity Audit Survey 2018, a league table of charity auditors researched by Charity Finance magazine, shows Crowe has retained the top slot, with audit fees of £4.1m and 119 clients, who collectively have income totalling some £4.5bn.

The firm has picked up a number of new external audit clients over the year, including Cats Protection, Muslim Aid, the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, Royal Horticultural Society, Royal Voluntary Service and Wood Green, The Animals Charity.

Deloitte has moved up to second place in the rankings, with audit fees of £2.8m from 21 charities. PwC has dropped to third, with £2.7m in fees from 36 charities, and Grant Thornton is fourth with 28 charity clients bringing in £2.3m of fees.

The survey covered 1,349 charities in total which had income of over £30bn between them and audit fees of almost £30m.

Responses showed that the most important factor in choosing an auditor was the firm’s level of understanding of the charity sector, cited by two thirds, which 60% also mentioned fee levels.  Median audit fees fell slightly across all income bands in the survey, while the highest audit fee recorded by a charity was £700,000 and the lowest £70.

Half of charities (55%) use a tender process to pick an auditor. The survey found over a quarter had been with the same auditor for more than 10 years, while 18% had reviewed their auditor in last year, three quarters of which stayed with the same firm. Over half only review every five years or more.

The survey also asked charities to rate their auditor in three areas: charity expertise, corporate social responsibility, and overall service. Four auditors (Buzzacott, Chariot House, Henderson Loggie, and Lovewell Blake) achieved 100% scores for both sector knowledge and overall service. Buzzacott was also the only charity not to have a charity amongst those surveyed reporting problems with its auditor.

Katharine Patel, partner and head of Buzzacott’s charity team said: ‘Being recognised as one of the leading auditors, receiving 100% satisfaction in charity expertise and overall service and no complaints from our surveyed clients is fantastic news. We have always been committed to supporting charities and these results are testament to the relationships we build with our clients. We look forward to another exciting year of helping our clients face the challenges of the sector.’

The Charity Audit Survey 2018 is here 

Report by Pat Sweet

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