Will the Auditing Industry Become a Tighter or Looser Oligopoly?
Posted: 15 Aug 2015 Last revised: 30 Oct 2018
Date Written: April 23, 2016
By the end of the 20th century, the competitive structure of the public accounting industry evolved into a tight oligopoly. We predict a reversal of this trend, because new issuers of public equity, who steadily replace legacy companies in the set of public companies, display less verifiable assets, more complex accounting estimates, and higher audit risks. Unlike their predecessors, these new issuers appear less and less attractive to Big N auditors. Smaller auditors service the growing market of riskier companies. Given the stickiness of the auditor-client relationships, we predict a trend of deconsolidation in the audit industry.
Keywords: Competitive structure; Public firms; Oligopoly; Big N audit firms; Audit risks; Intangible assets; Financial reporting quality; Audit fees; Audit quality
JEL Classification: M4, M41, M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation