Public Accounting Firms: Mandated Study on Consolidation and Competition

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The audit market for large public companies is an oligopoly, with the largest firms auditing the vast majority of public companies and smaller firms facing significant barriers to entry into the market. Mergers among the largest firms in the 1980s and 1990s and the dissolution of Arthur Andersen in 2002 significantly increased concentration among the largest firms, known as the "Big 4." These four firms currently audit over 78 percent of all U.S. public companies and 99 percent of all public company sales. This consolidation and ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. July 30, 2003.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The audit market for large public companies is an oligopoly, with the largest firms auditing the vast majority of public companies and smaller firms facing significant barriers to entry into the market. Mergers among the largest firms in the 1980s and 1990s and the dissolution of Arthur Andersen in 2002 significantly increased concentration among the largest firms, known as the "Big 4." These four firms currently audit over 78 percent of all U.S. public companies and 99 percent of all public company sales. This consolidation and the resulting concentration have raised a number of concerns. To address them, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 mandated that GAO study (1) the factors contributing to the mergers; (2) the implications of consolidation on competition and client choice, audit fees, audit quality, and auditor independence; (3) the impact of consolidation on capital formation and securities markets; and (4) barriers to entry faced by smaller accounting firms in competing with the largest firms for large public company audits."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • July 30, 2003

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Public Accounting Firms: Mandated Study on Consolidation and Competition, report, July 30, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc291140/: accessed June 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.