Accounting professions provide key services for ensuring the smooth operation of market economies. Maintaining access to quality accounting work at a reasonable price is crucial for increasing transparency of publicly held companies. While many practices may serve to protect consumers who are not otherwise able to assess the company accounts, there appear to be many areas in which there is restricted competition, particularly as a result of a string of mergers between large accounting firms. Accounting firms often face conflicts of interest arising from the multiple business segments in which they operate. The major policy challenge is to identify and remove the restrictions which are unnecessary or disproportionate to achieve public interest goals. Competition law and advocacy can play a major role in this respect, either by challenging anti-competitive activity as illegal or advocating changes to laws and regulations.
Competition and Regulation in Auditing and Related Professions