Title

The Effects of the Failure of a Big Four Accounting Firm on the Distribution of Audit and Accounting Services

Presenter Information

Charles GravesFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Accounting; Mathematics

Minor

Spanish

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Amanda Grossman; Dr. Elizabeth Donovan

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

This work investigates the effects of the hypothetical failure of KPMG, a Big Four accounting firm, on the public accounting market, with emphasis on how audit and accounting services are redistributed among the remaining firms. Using graph theory techniques and historical data from the failure of Arthur Andersen in 2002, three models of the post-failure redistribution of audit and accounting services are created and examined. The first model assumes no changes occur post-failure other than the employee and client redistribution. The second and third models assume that several non-Big Four firms merge together to create “The Merger,” a new firm which is the approximate size of pre-failure KPMG, in order to compete with the three remaining Big Four firms. The results of this examination indicate that the absorption of the ex-KPMG employees and the engagement of ex-KPMG clients will cause at least two of the “Big” firms in the model to switch places in terms of size based on total revenue. The results also indicate that a firm created to take advantage of the failure of one of the Big Four can significantly improve its performance in relation to the other “Big” firms compared to that of its member firms.

Affiliations

Honors Thesis

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The Effects of the Failure of a Big Four Accounting Firm on the Distribution of Audit and Accounting Services

This work investigates the effects of the hypothetical failure of KPMG, a Big Four accounting firm, on the public accounting market, with emphasis on how audit and accounting services are redistributed among the remaining firms. Using graph theory techniques and historical data from the failure of Arthur Andersen in 2002, three models of the post-failure redistribution of audit and accounting services are created and examined. The first model assumes no changes occur post-failure other than the employee and client redistribution. The second and third models assume that several non-Big Four firms merge together to create “The Merger,” a new firm which is the approximate size of pre-failure KPMG, in order to compete with the three remaining Big Four firms. The results of this examination indicate that the absorption of the ex-KPMG employees and the engagement of ex-KPMG clients will cause at least two of the “Big” firms in the model to switch places in terms of size based on total revenue. The results also indicate that a firm created to take advantage of the failure of one of the Big Four can significantly improve its performance in relation to the other “Big” firms compared to that of its member firms.