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Grant Thornton smashes into Big Four’s territory


Grant Thornton will double its FTSE 250 audit work by 2017 following hard-hitting reforms by regulators to smash the dominance of the Big Four accountants, the bean-counter’s chief executive has claimed.

Scott Barnes said the Competition Commission’s demand that listed firms compete the audit role every five years will help loosen the stranglehold that KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, EY and Deloitte have on the market. Some firms have retained the same accountant for decades, which inquiry chairwoman Laura Carstensen believes is detrimental for shareholders.

Mr Barnes predicted that Grant Thornton will have 15 FTSE 250 clients within three to four years. At present, the Big Four audit more than 90 per cent of the FTSE 250 and their dominance becomes even greater when it comes to FTSE 100 companies.

“The whole mood music around competition has changed,” said Mr Barnes. “Certainly, the market has been loosening up. Taken as a package, [the Commission’s recommendations] were broadly sensible.”

Grant Thornton today revealed a 13 per cent increase in turnover to £471m.