Auditing plays a pivotal role in the financial maintenance of a company. It can be seen as the analysis of a company’s accounts to ensure that it complies with the laws of the land, that is undertaken independently.
From small businesses to multi-national juggernauts, tracking and keeping records of all the financial activities is a challenging proposition. Audit firms have become an irreplaceable part of the modern business landscape. But why would one consult an audit firm? What do the cream of the crop offer for business? Read on to find out more.
Why should an audit firm be hired?
Hiring an audit firm to go through the company’s account serves a wide range of purposes some of them are:
- The main reason to conduct an audit of the company is compliance i.e. to meet the requirements and regulations of the industry. The risks involved with non-compliance far outweighs the cost and temporary inconvenience caused by an audit company.
- A thorough audit gives an outsiders view of the organisation on the systems and controls, thereby providing a unique opportunity to identify flaws and improve on internal controls, business systems, efficiency etc.
- An audit gives an impartial verification of the financial position of the company this gives a sense of trust and confidence in the stakeholders and future investors.
- Almost all industries are vulnerable to fraud and malpractices at different levels of administration. An audit can help the company to identify and effectively deal with these discrepancies.
- An audit can help highlight the upcoming changes in company law, taxation and ensure that the clients are prepared well in advance.
- Performing audits at regular intervals can help improve the credit ratings of the business. Higher credit scores help the business to acquire new loans from the banks easily.
Top Audit Firms in India
Having understood the importance of hiring an audit firm to do the yearly object, let us explore some of the most popular audit firms in India.
Deloitte or Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited is a professional network of services with offices in more than 150 countries in the world. Forming a part of the Big Four among auditing firms, it has the largest network of professional services networks in the world by the number of professionals working and revenue.
Founded by William Welch Deloitte in the year 1845 in London, Deloitte became a global player with mergers with industry leaders such as Touche Ross, Haskins & Sells. The firm is a United Kingdom private company, limited by guarantee and supported by a large group of independent legal entities. Notable employees of Deloitte include Sharon Thorne and Punit Renjen.
Founded in the late 1990s, Deloitte India has been an ever-present figure in the Indian auditing landscape. As per the regulation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India or the ICAI, foreign firms are not allowed to carry out audits in India. Deloitte operators under the name of C.C. Chokshi & Co. With more than eight offices Deloitte is located in four major cities:
Some of the top services offered by Deloitte include:
- Audit and assurance
- Risk and financial advisory
- Internal services
- Corporate Governance
PricewaterhouseCoopers or more commonly known as PwC is an international network of service firms operating under the PwC brand. Pwc is a part of the Big Four with Deloitte, EY and KPMG with offices in more than 157 countries. The majority of the workforce is located in the Americas and Asia accounting for 52 per cent of the total workforce
PwC was formed by a merger between Coopers & Lybrand with Price Waterhouse in September of 1998. The firm has associations with Booz & Company, BGT PArtners and NSI DMCC. Analogous to other professional service firms, each member firm of PwC is a financially and legally independent entity. Top employees include Sanjeev Krishan and Robert Mortiz.
Founded in 2008, Pwc has established itself in the Indian market. Spearheading community development projects such as The New Equations and the PwC India Foundations, the firm has been actively contributing to the development of society as a whole. With the headquarters in the nation’s capital of Delhi, some of the other locations are:
The services offered by PwC:
- Alliance and Ecosystems
- Family business services
- Sustainability and climate change
- People and organisations
Ernst and Young
A part of the Big Four of accounting firms ever since its formation Ernst & Young Global Limited has one of the largest professional accounting service networks in the world. Similar to other major accounting firms, EY has expanded its markets into strategy, operations, human resources, technology and financial services consulting.
Ernst and Young is the result of several high profile mergers over the last 150 years, with Harding & Pullein being the oldest of these firms founded in 1848. Some of the other key mergers include Arthur Young & Co, Ernst & Ernst and the famous Whinney, Smith& Whinney. Carmine Di Sibio chairman and CEO of the firm is one of the many global leaders associated with EY.
Though EY cannot directly operate in India, one of its member firms S.R. Batliboi & Company has been auditing for more than 85 years now. The firm has been growing cumulative average rate of 45 per cent for the past four years in the country. EY in India is often called a one-man show owing to its dynamic and aggressive business leader Rajiv Memani. Ernst and Young have offices in several key states including:
Services of EY include:
- Strategy and transaction
- EY private
A collaboration of British and Dutch professional services Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler or commonly known as KPMG forms one of the Big Four. Located in over 140 countries and employing over 200 thousand it has established itself as a leader in the global accounting arena.
First started in 1987 as a merger of Peat Marwick International and Klyneld Main Goerdeler the company experienced rapid growth throughout the decades. The oldest component, Grace Darbyshire & Todd was founded in 1818. In recent years KPMG has changed its United States branch as BearingPoint through an initial public offering. A key figure in the KPMG hierarchy is Bill Thomas the global chairman.
With the first branch opening in the August of 1993, the Indian branch of KPMG has seen a noteworthy presence in the company. KPMG has its presence in all major cities including:
KPMG is chiefly known for three major services namely:
- Financial audit
In public accounting, taxation and other business advisory services Binder Dijk Otte or BDO is establishing itself as an internationally recognised brand. BDO has an estimated income upwards of $10.3 billion and member firms in over 160 countries, thus making it one of the fastest-growing firms in the world.
With a comparatively shorter history as compared to other auditing firms, BDO was established in Australia in 1975. Having successful mergers with firms such as Nelson Parkhill and Horwath BDO growth has been rapid. Key names in the firm include founders Bernhard Binder, Hans Otte and the Global CEO Keith Farlinger.
BDO India is a key player in the global BDO organisation with over 3,500 employees operating nationwide. BDO offices are located in key cities such as:
Some of the wide range of services offered include:
- Business outsourcing
- Digital services
A powerful and influential multinational accounting firm RSM International forms the 6th largest accountancy network in the world in terms of annual revenue. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, RSM has generated approximately $6.3 billion as of 2020.
The history of RSM has its humble beginning in 1964 when it was a small network called DRM. The growth of the company was cemented in 1993 when it was rebranded by changing its name to RSM International. The founding members of Robson Rhodes and Salustro Reydel were absorbed by Grant Thornton and KPMG respectively. Ms Jean Stephens became the first CEO of the accounting firm in 2006 thereby making her the first female CEO of an international accounting firm.
RSM India Private Limited was incorporated on 08 February 2000. The company went on to have a merger with PWC in 2007 thus making the group the country’s largest accounting firm. RSM has a moderate presence in India with locations in important cities such as
- New Delhi
Public accounting and consulting firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom, Baker Tilly International is the tenth largest accounting firm. Having an established presence in over 147 countries with 126 member firms the company recognizes member firms that operate in more than one country as one member.
Formed as a result of the merger of five firms in India Baker tilly become the country’s sixth-largest firm. A notable merger in the company’s history came in August 2020 when Baker Tilly US merged with Squar Milner, LLP.
One of the leading accounting and consulting firms in India Baker Tilly DHC has been a strong presence in the land. Founded under the leadership of Mr Dilip B. Desai Baker Tilly acquired five smaller firms including R Kothari & Co, Spearhead Services to become a strong competitor to the Big Four.
Some notable services include:
- Bankruptcy and restructuring
- Cloud services
- Data solutions
- Digital strategy
- Complex disputes and litigations
Nexia International is an integrated network of independent services with more than 32,000 employees worldwide. Nexia also has the proud distinction of being one of the leading black-owned audit and advisory firms and among the top ten of international auditing firms networks.
Founded in the same year as the birth of the South African democracy in 1994, Necai grew rapidly to become the company’s top firm. In March of 1998, the firm joined the international association SC International, which merged with Nexia International in 2006.
Nexia has offices located in several cities including:
Top services offered by the firm are:
- Corporate and business tax
- Global mobility tax services
- Transfer pricing
- Turnaround restructuring insolvency
- Transactional advisory
- Risk advisory
- Integrated reporting
Crowe Global is a global professional services network. Previously known as Crowe Horwath International it is the 9th largest global accounting network in terms of revenue. The firm consists of over 200 member firms in more than 120 countries.
Hungarian immigrants Ernest and Edmund founded Horwath & Horwath in New York, which will later go on to form Crowe Global. Initially focused on the hospitality industry the practice expanded to include accounting and auditing. With rapid growth from the 60’s Crowe Chizek became a member of the global Horwath & Horwath International Associates. The company was rebranded in 2018 to the network name Crowe across their independent member firms.
Crowe Global has its presence in India under the name of Crowe Advisory Services (India) LLP with offices in over 8 cities. The assurance and certification wing is provided by an independent accounting firm V.P. Thacker & Co. The firm has offices in 8 cities:
- New Delhi
The principal services offered are:
- Business process
- HR outsourcing
- Tax and transfer pricing audits
- VAT audits
Auditing firms have become a quintessential part of the success of a business. Ever-growing business demands bring a unique set of challenges that require the third eye to solve. Auditing can often go a long way in saving the company large sums of money by spotting errors and providing solutions before it becomes irreversible. Audit firms can provide the support and guidance needed to lift any company to new and better peaks.
What are the top audit firms in India?
Some of the top audit firms in India are:
- Ernst and Young
- Baker Tilly
- Nexia International
- Crow Global
What are Big 4 Indian companies?
The big four accounting companies and top audit firms in India are:
How many audit firms are there in India?
There are more than 2000 audit firms in India.
Who is the No 1 chartered accountant in India?
Kumar Mangalam Birla is the most popular Chartered accountant in India.
What do auditing firms do?
Auditing firms check, verify and measure the accounts by an independent authority to ensure that all activities of accounts are done in a fairly. They ensure compliance with laws and regulations and maintain timely, fair, and accurate financial reporting.