Big Four Market Share by S&P 500 Audits

26 April 2024

The companies on the S&P 500 together paid $5.3 billion in audit fees in fiscal year (FY) 2022. But which accounting firm took home the lion’s share of that windfall?

PricewaterhouseCoopers claims the largest share of S&P 500 companies’ audit fees, at a massive $1.9 billion. Given the firm’s 152 clients among the index, this translates to roughly $12.6 million in revenue per relationship.Ernst & Young ($1.5 billion) and Deloitte ($1.2 billion) rank second and third, with KPMG a distant fourth at $739 million.

KPMG is generally considered the laggard of the Big Four accounting firms, and has faced more challenging times in the last few years. For instance, it was the auditor of the three U.S. banks that failed in 2023.

And in 2020, the firm had the worst report card of the Big Four, with only 61% of its sampled audits meeting industry standards.

Nevertheless the Big Four still maintain an ironclad grip on the general auditing business. Grant Thornton and BDO USA, the two other firms that audited the index, together only managed about $15 million in fees.

Which S&P 500 Companies Pay the Most Audit Fees?

Ideagen found that Manufacturing and Finance sectors paid the most audit fees, comprising nearly 69% of the $5.3 billion total paid by the index.

General Electric led the manufacturing sector, disbursing $57.6 million for audit services during FY22. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs topped the finance sector, spending $78.1 million on audit fees.


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