Audit companies in Spain increase turnover exceeding €2.8 billion

MADRID | The turnover of audit firms in Spain increased by 2.2% in 2011 to over 2.8 billion, thus extending the trend of steady moderate growth in the previous two years. Tax and legal advice, and corporate finance experienced a more dynamic activity level, while the audit and consulting areas grew by 1%.

A study of the sector published by DBK showed that audit firms managed to increase its sales in 2011, despite the gradual deterioration of the economy in Spain. The tax and legal consultancy segment recorded a billing growth rate of 5.1% over the previous year. This development was aided by buoyant demand for advisory services due the weakening of economic activity.

In corporate finance activity, there was a rebound in 2011, with growing revenues by 2.3% following declines in the previous two years and reaching €220 million. For its part, the areas of auditing and consulting were the ones that experienced a worse outcome in 2011, accounting for increases of around 1% each. The contraction of the business sector, reducing the number of companies that audited accounts and the pressure on rates explain the flat behaviour of the audit segment, which stood at €1.31 billion in 2011, bringing together 46.6% of the turnover of accounting firms.

The four industry leaders made up for the 53.6% of total turnover in 2011, a participation ratio that increases to 65.2% when considering the top ten companies.

The market for legal advice, including the activity of auditing firms and their partners, and the law only firms, grew by 1.6% to €4.48 billion, after having fallen 0.3% in 2010. Large law firms with a turnover exceeding €35 million accounted for a growth rate of around 2% in 2011, while auditing firms grew at a slightly higher pace (+5%) in the market for legal advice. Volumes of business generated by other law firms and independent lawyers remained flat.

The legal advice industryshowed a trend of increasing concentration, although their concentration is lower than that constituted by audit firms. The first five companies achieved a combined share of 22.4% of the aggregate turnover in 2011, which increased to 29.8% when considering the top ten.

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