Auditor Changes Roundup: Q3 2021

BF Borgers had the most new SEC audit clients for the second quarter in a row, with a net of eight new engagements in Q3 2021. As mentioned in Accounting Today, it was a strong quarter overall for new engagements. Total new clients in Q3 jumped to the highest level seen since the start of 2020.

As shown in the graph below, there was a drop in Big Four and global & national firms engagements, with 38 disclosed in Q3, down from 50 in Q2 2021. There was a small increase in departures, from 66 in Q2 to 68 departures in Q3.

The table below presents a complete view of the gains and losses of the major global and national firms. It shows the number of SEC audit clients that each auditor gained or lost. Additionally, it shows the auditor from or to which the client was won or lost.

Matrix depicting auditor changes between major global and national firms in Q3 2021

Deloitte led the way among the Big Four firms. Deloitte gained six new SEC clients and lost two during Q3 2021. Meanwhile, PwC gained one new client and lost none. KPMG gained four and lost four, and EY gained three and lost nine.

Among the other global & national firms, four firms had positive net engagements this quarter: Grant Thornton had four new clients and no losses; BDO had eight new clients and seven lost clients; RSM had two new clients and one lost client; and BKD had one new client and no losses.

Crowe gained one new client and lost none while Moss Adams saw no auditor change activity in the quarter.

Grant Thornton ranked first in terms of net audit fees won in Q3 2021, bringing in $4.8 million. Grant Thornton’s rank is largely due to two new engagements: North Carolina-based Extreme Networks Inc. [EXTR] and California-based GAN Ltd. [GAN].

Net audit fees gained from client engagements resulting from auditor changes in Q3 2021

Large Accelerated Filer Auditor Changes

In these tables below, we broke down the auditor changes by the size of companies gained or lost. These changes are represented by the companies’ reported filing status. The first table shows auditor changes for Large Accelerated Filers, i.e. those with a worldwide public float of more than $700 million.

Auditor firm changes for large accelerated filers in Q3 2021

In Q3 2021, Withum gained two new Large Accelerated clients. Both these gains were due to an audit firm merger. Grant Thornton, Deloitte, and KPMG each gained one.

Among Large Accelerated Filers in Q3 2021, there were five audit firm engagements and five departures. This change is a slight decrease from last quarter.

Accelerated Filer Auditor Changes

The next table shows a sample of the largest wins and losses for Accelerated Filers. Accelerated Filers are companies with public float between $75 million and $700 million. Companies that identify as an Accelerated Filer + Smaller Reporting Company are subject to Accelerated Filer requirements. These requirements include an auditor’s attestation of management’s assessment of internal control over financial reporting. As a result, we’ve included these companies in the analysis for Accelerated Filers.

Auditor changes for SEC accelerated filers in Q3 2021

For Accelerated Filers and/or Smaller Reporting Companies, only two firms gained positive engagements. Those firms were Shandong Haoxin Certified Public Accountants Co Ltd, with two audit clients, and BKD LLP with one audit client. Deloitte and BDO both broke even with one client gain and one client loss each. This change is a big drop from last quarter, where we saw eight firms gain positive engagements.

Among Accelerated Filers and/or Smaller Reporting Companies, there were just five engagements and six departures in Q3 2021.

Non-Accelerated Filers and Smaller Reporting Company Auditor Changes

The last table shows the top gains and losses for Smaller Reporting Companies. Companies. This population has a mix of companies that did not identify as Large Accelerated Filers, Accelerated Filers, or Accelerated + Smaller Reporting Company. For a list that is divided by all separate filer statuses, please contact us.

Auditor changes for small public companies in Q3 2021

During Q3 2021, Turner Stone & Company, Grant Thornton, and BPM all gained a net total of three Non-Accelerated Filers and/or Smaller Reporting Companies. Olayinka Oyebola & Co CAs, Weaver & Tidwell, BDO, RSM, Deloitte, Frazier & Deeter, and JP Centurion & Partners each gained a net of two Non-Accelerated Filers and/or Smaller Reporting Companies. There were 28 firms that each gained a net of one Non-Accelerated Filer and/or Smaller Reporting Company.

As mentioned in our Q4 2020Q1 2021, and Q2 2021 analyses, Withum and Marcum continued to see a large number of departures due to finalized acquisitions of SPAC clients; this trend has continued into Q3 of 2021. However, it is not uncommon for SPACs to change their auditor once an acquisition has been completed.

In total, for Non-Accelerated Filers and/or Smaller Reporting Companies during Q1 2021, there were 88 engagements and 151 departures.

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