Taken at face value, the results of the annual Accountancy survey of total fees from FTSE 100 should be profoundly satisfying for the big firms. In a lacklustre market, audit fees are stagnant, but income from other services provided to FTSE 100 audit clients has increased, albeit marginally, during a difficult economic year. Non-audit fees rose by 1.2% in 2001 and the disparity between audit and other fees increased. As a business model in normal times, it is a creditable performance.
But these are not normal times. Under perceived market and then regulatory pressure, the Big Four have spun or sold off their IT consultancies - mostly in the period since the yearend of the companies included in the table. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, recently passed in the US, forbids audit firms from supplying nine classes of non-audit work to their audit clients. Many of the companies in the FTSE 100 are either multinational in ownership or have extensive trading or operational relationships in the US. They will, therefore, be covered by the new legislation.
The extent of the impact on the Big Four has yet to be seen. But the sale of the IT implementation units and the inevitable reduction in fees post Sarbanes-Oxley will lead to a considerable narrowing of the gap in next year's table. As reported on p 7, the size of the non-audit income from some FTSE 100 audit clients is immense. Andersen earned 23 times the audit fee from BSkyB and KPMG brought in 16 times its audit revenue from consultancy at Prudential.
It is figures of these dimensions which will confirm the intent of regulators and legislators for the separation of audit and consultancy. Among the demands of many commentators has been a formal audit rotation policy. The Department of Trade and Industry's post-Enron report (see p 28 and 29) says that the government is considering, against the wishes of the profession, the adoption of rotation. It may be interested in the table on the last page. This shows what happened to the audits of the seven companies in the FTSE 100 which were audited by Andersen. Six went to Deloitte & Touche - Andersen's acquirer - and only one - the US controlled Amvescap - went to Ernst & Young.Shooting the breeze?
The income from audit next year will almost certainly increase - inflation will play its part - and companies will be concerned that they do not incur the wrath of regulators. Post Enron, accountants are saying that their fees may have to increase because of increasing regulatory and compliance demands. They may be shooting the breeze. Nevertheless it is inevitable that auditors will have to do more, and this will cost more.
Total audit fees paid by the FTSE 100 companies fell very slightly over last year's figures to £212m. Even allowing for some double-counting (not all companies distinguish between statutory audit fees and audit-related fees), the fall suggests that auditors are feeling the squeeze as audit committees demand value for money and companies put the annual audit out to tender. Most companies in the survey managed to keep the audit fee at or very near the previous year's level - the only companies showing a significant increase in audit fees are those involved in large mergers or those reporting in US dollars (changing exchange rates accounting for much of the difference).Merger mayhem
Three companies that had previously retained joint auditors - usually the result of a past merger - switched to sole auditors during the year. Brambles Industries went to tender after its merger and retained D&T in the UK, while D&T was left as sole auditor of the Daily Mail group when PwC resigned. The merger between Norwich Union and CGU resulted in Aviva, and a new sole auditor as the company dropped PwC in favour of E&Y.
The merger of Glaxo Welcome and SmithKline Beecham was good news for PwC, which earned more than £35m in non-audit fees, including £14.6m directly relating to the merger. The planned IPO of Burberry similarly earned PwC £3.1m in non-audit fees from Great Universal Stores, while the same firm's installation of a new accounting system at Lattice Group explains the £9m jump in non-audit fees during the financial year. The firm earned a further £4.3m from National Grid for the development and implementation of a new trading system.Media and technology
Firms working for media and technology companies saw mixed fortunes during the year. D&T earned £22m in non-audit fees from Vodafone, which included £18m for IT consultancy work, while the large increase in non-audit fees registered by BSkyB, from £5.7m to £13.8m, was mainly a result of work carried out by AA on the programming of the group's websites and the development of new call centres. Cable & Wireless, on the other hand, cut back severely on its non-audit work. KPMG earned over £12m in non-audit fees in the year to March 2001 but only £5.6m this year.
The demutualisation of the UK's building societies proved to be a lucrative line of work for some auditors. £2.7m of the non-audit fees paid out by Bradford and Bingley to KPMG, for instance, related to the former building society's conversion process, while £4m of the £4.7m paid out by Friends Provident in non-audit work to PwC related to its demutualisation.
BP remained the big spender of the FTSE 100 in terms of nonaudit work and its fee bonanza was not restricted to work carried out by its auditor. In addition to the £45m paid to E&Y for non-statutory audit work, the group paid an additional $305m to other, unnamed firms.A note on disclosure
UK law requires annual reports and accounts to detail the amount paid to the auditor for the group and company audit, as well as any nonauditfees also paid to the auditor. That does not mean that the information is particularly easy to locate, or that the information given will be particularly detailed. Most companies detail audit and non-audit fees paid as part of operating expenses, sometimes disclosed in a separate table or in a supplementary note. Very few dedicate an entire note to the accounts to auditors' fees. Many companies do not distinguish between audit and audit-related fees and more than a third do not provide a detailed break-down of fees earned from various consulting projects.
Companies that are not registered in the UK do not have to comply with the UK legal requirement that auditors' fees are disclosed in the annual accounts. Three companies fall into this category - Shire Pharmaceuticals, which did not produce UK accounts this year but produced US GAAP group accounts, Xstrata, which is registered in Switzerland and produced IAS accounts, and Brambles Industries, which is registered in Australia.
PwC's domination of the FTSE 100 appears to be on the slide as the firm saw its total number of audits fall for the second year running. Two years ago the firm audited 49.5 of the FTSE 100. This year it audits just 41.5. Some of those losses are due to the constantly changing constituency of the FTSE but KPMG, E&Y and D&T nevertheless saw their total audits - and their earnings - increase as a result. The fallout from the demise of Arthur Andersen will result in an even more dramatic change next year as D&T will move up to third place at the expense of E&Y. See table (below)Big Five's earnings from FTSE 100 audit clients Big Five's share of AUDIT fees from their FTSE 100 clients Big Five's share of ALL fees from their FTSE 100 audit clients Total fees earned by the firms from FTSE 100 audit clients
|AMVESCAP||Ernst & Young|
|BSkyB||Deloitte & Touche|
|British Land||Deloitte & Touche|
|Cadbury||Deloitte & Touche|
|Canary Wharf||Deloitte & Touche|
|Shire Pharmaceuticals||Deloitte & Touche|
|WPP||Deloitte & Touche|
|FTSE 100||Year end||Auditor||Turnover £m||Statutory audit fee £m||Previous statutory audit fee £m||Total - other fees £m||Sign-off time|
|3i Group||31.3.02||E&Y||355||0.6||0.5||1.2||45 days|
|Abbey National Group||31.12.01||D&T||10,241||4.1||3.4||3.6||51 days|
|Alliance & Leicester Group||31.12.01||D&T||2,141.00||0.4||0.3||1.3||52 days|
|Allied Domecq||31.08.01||KPMG||2,879||2||2||4||59 days|
|Anglo American1*||31.12.01||D&T||12,360||5.13||6.41||2.6||1 days|
|Associated British Foods||15.09.01||KPMG||4,434||2.2||1.9||3||51 days|
|Aviva (previously CGNU)3||31.12.01||E&Y||24,410||3||4.9||10.3||57 days|
|BAE Systems||31.12.01||KPMG||9,041||3.3||3||9||44 days|
|BG Group||31.12.01||PwC||2,819||0.8||1.4||2.2||52 days|
|BHP Billiton4*||30.6.01||KPMG/PwC||11,403||3.2||1.92||12.82||65 days|
|BOC Group||30.09.01||PwC||4,159||2||1.8||2.2||54 days|
|BT Group||31.03.02||PwC||21,815||1.6||2.1||26.3||51 days|
|Bradford & Bingley||31.12.01||KPMG||1,819||0.6||0.8||3.9||50 days|
|Brambles Industries7**||30.06.01||D&T||3,181||1.86||1.32||0.68||103 days|
|British Airways||31.03.02||E&Y||8,340||1.4||1.2||1.9||50 days|
|British American Tobacco||31.12.01||PwC||24,466||5.9||5.9||14.6||57 days|
|British Land Co||31.03.02||AA||415.2||0.6||0.5||1.8||58 days|
|British Sky Broadcasting Group||30.06.01||AA||2,306||0.6||0.4||13.8||24 days|
|Cable & Wireless||31.03.02||KPMG||6,261||2.6||2.7||5.6||4 days|
|Cadbury Schweppes||30.12.01||AA||5,519||3||2||4||53 days|
|Canary Wharf Group||30.6.01||AA||159.2||0.278||0.237||0.316||74 days|
|Capita Group||31.12.01||E&Y||691||0.464||0.33||0.297||51 days|
|Compass Group||31.09.01||D&T||8,088||2||2||5||72 days|
|Corus Group8||29.12.01||PwC||7,924||2.8||6.7||2||79 days|
|Daily Mail & General Trust9||30.09.01||D&T||1,947||1.8||1.9||1.2||73 days|
|Dixons Group||27.04.02||D&T||4,888||0.6||0.5||0.8||60 days|
|EMI Group10||31.03.02||E&Y||3,153||2.2||2.6||1.5||50 days|
|Friends Provident||31.12.01||PwC||2,251||0.6||0.3||4.7||64 days|
|Gallaher Group||31.12.01||PwC||5,455||0.8||0.5||7.8||64 days|
|HSBC Holdings*||31.12.01||KPMG||25,077||15.58||16.54||8.52||63 days|
|Hilton Group||31.12.01||E&Y||4,161||1.6||1.5||1.9||70 days|
|Imperial Tobacco Group||29.09.01||PwC||5,918||0.8||0.7||2.1||59 days|
|International Power12||31.12.01||KPMG||557||0.7||0.9||1||77 days|
|Johnson Matthey||31.03.02||KPMG||4,830||1.1||1.1||0.8||60 days|
|Land Securities14||31.03.02||PwC||1,025||0.3||0.3||1.3||52 days|
|Lattice Group15||31.03.02||PwC||4,132||1.8||1.5||13.4||44 days|
|Legal & General Group||31.12.01||PwC||20,596||1||1||1||58 days|
|Lloyds TSB Group||31.12.01||PwC||4,944||4||4||17||45 days|
|MAN Group||31.03.02||PwC||652||0.9||0.8||0.1||53 days|
|Marks & Spencer Group||30.03.02||PwC||8,315||1||1.1||2.5||50 days|
|Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets||03.02.02||KPMG||3,918||0.148||0.14||0.05||46 days|
|National Grid Group||31.03.02||PwC||4,004||1||0.5||11.4||61 days|
|Northern Rock||31.12.01||PwC||1,685||0.2||0.2||0.8||57 days|
|Old Mutual||31.12.01||KPMG||6,820||4||4||3||56 days|
|P&O Princess Cruises17*||31.12.01||KPMG||1,571||0.51||0.51||3.71||36 days|
|Reckitt Benckiser18||31.12.01||PwC||3,439||1.8||1.9||2.6||50 days|
|Reed Elsevier||31.12.01||D&T||4,560||2.5||1.9||3.4||51 days|
|Rentokil Initial||31.12.01||PwC||2,242||2.3||2.4||0.6||86 days|
|Reuters Group19||31.12.01||PwC||3,885||2.2||1.8||12.9||46 days|
|Rio Tinto20||31.12.01||PwC||7,249||2.8||2.5||3.7||53 days|
|Rolls Royce||31.12.01||KPMG||6,328||3||2.9||2||5 days|
|Royal & Sun Alliance Group21||31.12.01||PwC||8,334||4.2||4.4||22.3||58 days|
|Royal Bank of Scotland Group22||31.12.01||D&T||14,581||5.5||5||7||58 days|
|Sage Group||30.09.01||PwC||484||0.506||0.44||0.249||66 days|
|Sainsbury (J)||30.03.02||PwC||18,198||0.5||0.7||2.2||9 days|
|Scottish & Newcastle||28.04.02||E&Y||4,118||1.1||1.2||3.3||5 days|
|Scottish & Southern Energy||31.03.02||KPMG||4,005||0.2||0.2||0.07||53 days|
|Scottish Power||31.03.02||PwC||6,314||1.5||1.5||16.6||31 days|
|Severn Trent||31.03.02||PwC||1,794||0.6||0.6||1.4||72 days|
|Shell Transport & Trading Co23||31.12.01||PwC||2,545||0.025||0.016||73 days|
|Shire Pharmaceuticals Group24||31.12.01||AA||580||58 days|
|Six Continents||30.09.01||E&Y||4,033||1||1.7||2.9||66 days|
|Smith & Nephew||31.12.01||E&Y||1,205||0.8||1||2.5||37 days|
|Smiths Group||31.07.01||PwC||4,958||3.4||5.2||8.2||66 days|
|Standard Chartered*||31.12.01||KPMG||5,180||2.95||2.82||3.85||51 days|
|United Utilities||31.03.02||KPMG||1,791||0.4||0.3||0.6||61 days|
|Vodafone Group||31.03.02||D&T||22,845||4||3||22||57 days|
|WPP Group25||31.12.01||AA||20,887||5.6||4.1||11.7||129 days|
1. $6m of $8m audit fee was earned outside the UK.
2. Other (unnamed) firms were paid an additional $.01m in audit fees. KPMG also charged $8m to Syngenta AG relating to its demerger from AstraZeneca.
3. E&Y appointed sole auditors 24 April 2001 (previously joint auditors with PwC). 2000 split for audit=PwC £3.5m/E&Y £1.4m, non audit=PwC £38.3m/E&Y £4.7m.
4. Company operates a dual listing following its merger with BHP. An additional $3m in audit fees and $6m in non-audit fees were paid to other firms.
5. Statutory audit fee includes $8m earned outside the UK. A further $305m was paid for non-audit services to other firms.
6. Company includes audit-related work in non-audit fees. Of £33m in total non-audit fees, £27m were earned in the UK.
7. Company has dual listing on London and Sydney Stock Exchanges. Auditor fees relate to worldwide operations. $6.4m in non-audit fees were paid to other auditors during the year.
8. Comparative figure is for 15 months to 30 December 2000.
9. In 2000 D&T received £0.7m in audit fees and PwC £1.2m.
10. An additional £0.1m in audit fees were paid to another (unnamed) firm during the year.
11. £0.5m of statutory audit fee earned outside the UK.
12. Comparative figure is for the nine months to 31 December 2000
13. An additional £1m in audit fees were paid to other auditors.
14. PwC also received £2.6m in non audit costs from Telereal, a 50% joint venture with the William Pears Group.
15. Fees are for the 15 months ended 31 March 2002. Comparative figures are for the 12 months ended 31 December 2000.
16. Demerged from BT on 19 November 2001. Audit report not dated. Directors' report dated 28 May.
17. $3.8m of the $5.8m paid for non-audit work related to the UK.
18. About half of non-audit fees are earned within the UK.
19. £1.3m of statutory audit fee relate to overseas.
20. An additional £0.3m in audit fees were paid to other firms. Non-audit work in the UK amounted to $1.5m.
21. A further £176,000 in audit fees were paid to other auditors.
22. Comparative figures are for the 15 months to 31 December 2000.
23. Audit fees relate to STT plc. According to the Royal Dutch/Shell Group accounts, KPMG and PwC received $18m for audit and $32m for non-audit work during the year.
24. No annual report produced in the UK. US accounts do not disclose auditor remuneration.
25. Other auditors were paid an additional £0.5m during the year.
26. Company listed on LSE after the financial year end. Audit fees relate to Xstrata AG. No non-audit fees disclosed.
* Fees converted from US at a rate of $1.56:£1
** Fees converted from AUS$ at a rate of A$2.94:£1.
*** Fees converted from euros at a rate of 1.59:£1.
Turnover includes associates and joint ventures. Turnover of financial services companies= interest+fees+other operating income. All non-statutory audit fees shown as part of other fees.FTSE top 10 and their auditors
|Company||Auditor||Statutory audit fees £m||Non-audit fees £m|
|5||Royal Bank of Scotland Group||D&T||5.4||7|
|6||Shell Transport & Trading Co||PwC||0.025|
|8||Lloyds TSB Group||PwC||4||4|
Perhaps predictably, PwC is the winner in terms of the most FTSE top 10 audits with four, followed by KPMG with three. More surprising, though, is the fact that the largest companies in the UK do not necessarily choose the largest accountancy firm as their auditor - PwC audits only one of the FTSE top five. The statutory audit fee for the FTSE top 10 does vary widely but may be explained by a lack of detailed information on auditors' fees in many annual reports. HSBC's seemingly large audit fee, for instance, most likely includes a large amount of overseas work. Shell Transport and Trading's tiny audit fee can be explained by an accounting anomaly - the company is included in the UK top 10 because 50% of the turnover and profits of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group are allocated to the UK. The audit fee, however, is not split equally. According to the Royal Dutch/Shell Group accounts, joint auditors KPMG and PwC received $18m in audit fees between them during the year.
The audit fee, though, is obviously not the main concern for auditors of the FTSE Top 10, as the firms earned three times as much from non-audit work as they did from the statutory audit.FTSE 100 year ends Fastest and slowest audits
|British Sky Broadcasting||AA||24 days|
|Scottish Power||PwC||31 days|
|Rentokil Initial||PwC||86 days|
|Brambles Industries||D&T||103 days|
|WPP Group||AA||129 days|
The time delay between the year-end and the day the auditors sign off the accounts is probably not the fairest indication of the efficiency of the audit - after all, a long lead time is not necessarily the auditors' fault. Most companies in the FTSE 100, though, manage to sign off their accounts within 49 to 58 days of their year-end. The exceptions, however, are well outside this band. Prize for the speediest audit goes to BSkyB and, ironically, the late Arthur Andersen, which signed off the accounts in 24 days. This year's accounts are due to be published in the autumn and, according to BSkyB, new auditors D&T were equally efficient, signing off in 30 days.
AA also appears at the other end of the scale, signing off WPP's accounts in a dismal 129 days. Its nearest rival, D&T, may be allowed more of an excuse since Brambles Industries has a dual listing on the Sydney and London Stock Exchanges and its full, worldwide accounts were signed in 88 days by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in Sydney. D&T followed with the UK pro-forma accounts 15 days later. A special mention must also go to PwC's audit report for mmo2 which, maybe due to a printing error, was not dated. The company's directors' report was signed off within 50 days, however, so we have given PwC the benefit of the doubt.Most expensive audits
|Company||Auditor||Statutory audit fee £m|
|British American Tobacco||PwC||5.9|
|Royal Bank of Scotland Group||D&T||5.4|
|Drop outs from 2001||Auditor||Comments||New entries for 2002||Auditor||Comments|
|ARM Holdings||PwC||Relegated to FTSE 250||Bradford & Bingley||KPMG||Promoted from FTSE 250|
|Celltech Group||E&Y||Relegated to FTSE 250||Bunzl||KPMG||Promoted from FTSE 250|
|Electrocomponents||KPMG||Relegated to FTSE 250||Corus Group||PwC||Promoted from FTSE 250|
|Enterprise Oil||KPMG||Sold to Shell Resources||Exel||E&Y||Promoted from FTSE 250|
|Innogy||KPMG||Sold to RWE||Johnson Matthey||KPMG||Promoted from FTSE 250|
|Logica||PwC||Relegated to FTSE 250||P&O Princess Cruises||KPMG||New Company|
|Powergen||PwC||Sold to Eon||Xstrata||E&Y||New Company|
|United Business Media||PwC||Relegated to FTSE 250||mmo2||PwC||New Company|