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Third Quarter 2020 Saw Year's Lowest Number of New Audit Engagements

Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Nov 25, 2020

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The third quarter of 2020 had the lowest volume of new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  audit engagements for the year so far, 94, according to Accounting Today. The first quarter had 147, and the second quarter had 125. In Q3 of 2019, there were 124 new engagements. This drop-off could be connected to a spike in coronavirus cases, which began toward the end of Q3 2020.

Both Grant Thornton and Marcum netted the most new audit engagements, each bringing on four and netting three. Other firms added more new clients but netted fewer.

PricewaterhouseCoopers led the list in terms of new market capitalization audited, new assets audited and new audit fees because of one client:  Estee Lauder Companies, which accounted for all $43.06 billion of the  firm’s new market cap; $17.78 billion of its $20.14 billion in new assets audited; and $10.86 million of its $11.15 million in new audit fees.

Deloitte came in second in new market capitalization, with $4.28 billion; California-based water utility SJW Group accounted for most of that, at $1.98 billion. The company also helped Deloitte to second place in terms of assets audited, representing $3.13 billion out of a total $5.70 billion.

Ernst & Young took second in terms of new audit fees, due to large contributions from a number of new clients, primarily $3.60 million from California-based network infrastructure company Extreme Networks Inc.

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