Audit fees paid by largest charities rise by 2.5 per cent

Figures from Charity Financials show the 5,000 largest charities in the UK paid more than £67m in fees to auditors last year

Rise in charity audit fees
Rise in charity audit fees

Britain’s largest charities paid more than £67m in audit fees last year, a 2.5 per cent increase on the previous year, according to a new report.

The Charity Audit Spotlight, which is produced by the charity data website Charity Financials and is based on the accounts of the top 5,000 UK charities, also says that a third of charities experienced an increase in audit fees.

The spotlight, which analyses each charity’s latest accounts with the vast majority submitted in 2014 or 2015, found that the accounting firm Crowe Clarke Whitehill earned the most in audit fees, receiving more than £5.6m. This figure was almost unchanged from 2013/14.

Other audit firms among the top five fee earners were PricewaterhouseCoopers, BDO, RSM and Grant Thornton.

The largest audit fee was £600,000 paid by the Wellcome Trust to PwC

The top ten firms earned £37.5m between them in 2014/15, up from £36.8m the previous year.

RSM, which was previously Baker Tilly and RSM Tenon, has the most individual clients with 244 charities.

But the top three, which also includes Crowe Clarke Whitehill and haysmacintyre, were only separated by four clients, and the top ten firms accounted for 1,830 of the top 5,000 charities last year.

Haysmacintyre had the largest number of new clients joint the firm with 19, but Crowe Clarke Whitehill brought in the most new fees from new clients, with £268,000.

The spotlight says that 42 per cent of charities have not changed auditor in the past decade, with 37 per cent having only changed once. Of the charities that had changed auditor, the most common time to do this was after six years.

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