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The Big Four by Stuart Kells, Ian D. Gow

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9

UNQUALIFIED

Auditing as the foundation of the Big Four brands

A point of distinction

All the Big Four provide audit and advisory services, and in all the firms there are significant differences across these two service lines with respect to: staff qualifications and experience, job sizes, charge rates, delivery timelines and contract types. Compared to advisory, auditing is a higher-cost, lower-margin business with different economics and a different culture. Audit and advisory practices occupy separate divisions within the Big Four firms, and are often physically separate too. A Big Four advisor can go a long time without even seeing a Big Four auditor, and vice versa. When young staff speak of Big Four work as ‘indentured labour’, they are ...

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