Who Audits Public Companies – France

Posted by Audit Analytics - Jan 06, 2022

This analysis was originally posted by Audit Analytics.

This post is a part of Audit Analytics’ series on audit market concentration across select countries in Europe.

The Big Four accounting firms are collectively engaged in 57% of all French engagements, unchanged from the previous year. Deloitte led the way with 16% of all engagements, followed by EY with 15%. Mid-tier firm Mazars was third with 14% of all engagements, while PwC and KPMG round out the top five with 13% and 12%, respectively.

France is unique because of its joint audit requirement that all public interest entities (PIEs) – which include publicly listed entities – must engage at least two independent accounting firms to perform an annual audit. Many credit this requirement as creating a more diverse and competitive audit market than other countries.

2020 Auditor Market Share in France
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CAC 40

The Big 4 continue to have a dominant role among the largest companies. Combined, the Big 4 audit 79% of the CAC 40 engagement, lead by EY with 26% of all engagements. Meanwhile, Mazars audits another 18% of CAC 40 engagements. The only other audit firm that CAC 40 companies engaged was Grant Thornton.


EY and Mazars lead with 19% of all engagements among the CAC Mid 60. In total, the Big 4 are engaged in 67% of all CAC Mid 60 engagements. Eight firms share the remaining 14% of CAC Mid 60 engagements, lead by Grant Thornton with 4%.


The CAC Small index is much more diverse, with the Big 4 plus Mazars combining for just over half (54%) of all engagements. Sixty-nine firms share the other 46% of engagements. Grant Thornton leads among smaller firms with 7% of CAC Small engagement.

Joint Audit Market Composition

One advantage of joint audits – which is being discussed in the UK in a modified version – is the ability to engage a larger firm with greater resources to conduct a quality audit and a smaller firm with fewer resources as the joint firm. In theory, this would create a more diverse market and allow smaller firms to learn from larger firms while still ensuring quality audits.

Joint Audit Composition

However, in France, which is the largest market in which we have a proxy for this theory, we see limited support. Among the CAC 40, less than half of joint audit engagements include a Big 4 firm and a non-Big 4 firm. As we saw above, France’s largest mid-tier firm Mazars audits most of the non-Big 4 engagements.

Among the CAC Next 20, trends are fairly similar to the CAC 40. Nearly half of the CAC Next 20 engage two Big 4 firms. The majority of the other half that engage both a Big 4 firm and a non-Big 4 firm engage Mazars, with just two other firms engaged by CAC Next 20 companies.

Among the CAC Mid 60, nearly 60% of companies engage a Big 4 firm and non-Big 4 firm. Meanwhile, 4% engage multiple non-Big 4 firms. Most of these non-Big 4 firm engagements also include the mid-tier firm Mazars.

Among the CAC Small, nearly 90% engage at least one non-Big 4 firm. Additionally, about a quarter of CAC Small companies engage multiple non-Big 4 firms. This may be an indication that joint audits promote the use of smaller firms amongst small and mid-sized companies.

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