Title: Capture! From Big Eight to Big Four to regulation

Authors: Jeremy T. Schwartz

Addresses: Hampden-Sydney College, Box 154, Hampden-Sydney, VA 23943, USA

Abstract: This paper examines the evolution of the US public accounting industry from providers of audit services to ultimate regulation by a quasi-government agency. During the past 30 years, consolidation within the industry led to the counterintuitive result of increased competition for audit services. The economic difficulties at the start of this century revealed deficiencies in audit quality, caused in part by the joint sale of audit, tax, and consulting services. With regulation, remaining Big Four firms now have the enforcement mechanism to reduce competition in the price of audits with the risk of total business failure removed.

Keywords: oligopoly; regulation; Big Four; audit quality; public accounting; USA; United States; auditing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2013.055479

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2013 Vol.5 No.3, pp.264 - 274

Published online: 28 Nov 2013 *

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