The latest edition of Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, has revealed that the Big Four increased their combined ‘total fee income’ by 4.7% to £10.95bn and ‘audit fee income’ by 1.7% to £2.1bn.
By contrast, total fee income at non-big four public interest entity audit firms fell by 8.1% and ‘audit fee income’ fell by 6.3% (compared to a 3% increase in 2016/17).
The average audit fee income in 2018 for all firms with public interest entity clients per responsible individual was £1.6m, an increase of £0.16m (12.3%) from 2017.
The number of audit firms registered to carry out statutory audit work in the UK and the Republic of Ireland (ROI) also fell by 4.7% in 2017/18, down from 5,660 to 5,394 audit firms.
This is in part due to a decline in both the number of sole practitioner audit firms (down from 2,733 to 2,558) and firms with 2 – 6 Principals (down from 2,618 to 2,534).
The FRC said: “Meanwhile membership of the accountancy bodies continues to grow. The seven bodies overseen by the FRC have over 365,000 members in the UK and the ROI and almost 550,000 members worldwide.
“The average annual growth in the UK and the ROI between 2014 to 2018 was 2.2% and 3.1% worldwide.”