Big Four’s extensive Carillion work sparks calls for action

New disclosures from the UK’s “big four” accounting firms have demonstrated the extent of their work for collapsed contractor Carillion and sparked fresh calls to tackle their market dominance.

PwC, KPMG, EY and Deloitte collectively earned £71m from work for Carillion in the past 10 years, according to figures provided by the firms to two government committees investigating the collapse.

The disclosures, published on Tuesday, highlight the large number of contracts each of the four had with Carillion, for services from advice on cyber security breaches to guidance on capital raising, audit, acquisitions and pensions.

Karthik Ramanna, a professor at Oxford university’s Blavatnik School of Government, said the figures demonstrated the need to reduce the dominance of the firms. “It’s very difficult today if you’re a large company to find an accounting alternative to the Big Four. It’s a classic oligopoly situation,” he said.

“We need a serious investigation into why there is so little competition in the market for listed companies. We don’t have the same issue with law…

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