Audit Fee Report: Frequently Asked Questions

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You must log in with your current e-mail address and password, then click on the "My Profile" link. Once on the page, click on the "Update Personal Information" link.
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Click on the "Forgot Password" link on the login/register page to fill out the form. Your password will be sent to you when you enter your account e-mail address.
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Email CFO.com
If you have additional questions or feedback, you may contact us through the CFO.com feedback form.

Purchasing a Report

I lost my report or I can't find my receipt. Can I get another copy of the report?
Yes. Simply go back to the main report page and click the link that says "Looking for Past Purchases?" Or simply click here.
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Do I need to be a registered user of CFO.com to purchase a report?
Yes. Registration is easy and free. You may register during the purchase process.
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Why does my company not appear?
The CFO Audit Fee Report contains data for SEC-registrant companies that filed financial results in the most recent year. If your company is not a public filer, you may generate a benchmark report for your appropriate industry and revenue range, but it will not include an analysis of your own company's fees.
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My discount code did not work.
If your discount code did not work, the system will tell you why when you hit the "Apply Discount" button. It may be expired or invalid. If it says invalid and you believe that is incorrect, please be sure you have typed it exactly as it appears. If you still have questions, please send an e-mail to CFO.com feedback.
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I don't have a discount code. Where do I get one?
Discount codes are available for users who attended a CFO conference. If you do not have a discount code, leave that field blank.
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Using Your Report

How do I use this report?

Your report is available online and as a PDF file.

The online version allows you switch between four tabs to view a summary and an analysis of data from each of three years. It also allows you to switch instantly back and forth between views that include or exclude outliers, or red flags. For more on red flags, click here.

The PDF file contains the same information as the online report, but is printed to first show the entire report (summary and three years of data) with red flags excluded, then again with red flags included and additional analysis of those red flags.

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What are the red flags?
A key feature of this report is the ability to exclude outliers that can skew results by inflating or lowering audit fees. Such "red flags" include restatements, management- or auditor-reported control failures, and auditor changes. In the online version, users can switch between views that include or exclude red flags by using the red-flag toggle button. In most cases, users will want to exclude red flags (your print copy displays these views first) for the most accurate benchmark of fees. However, it can be useful to include red flags if, for example, your company experienced or may experience one or more of these events, or if you wish to see the impact those events have had on your industry.
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What if I don't understand a particular chart?
In the online version of the report, click the link marked "What is this?" for a description. The same descriptions are automatically printed on your PDF report.
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How may I use the data in this report?
Your report constitutes a limited license to the data and its use is subject to the terms and conditions listed here.
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I lost my report or I can't find my receipt. Can I get another copy of the report?
Yes. Simply go back to the main report page and click the link that says "Looking for Past Purchases?" Or simply click here.
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Methodology and Data

Which audit fees does the report measure?
The CFO Audit Fee Report combines "audit" and "audit-related" fees to arrive at an audit fee number. These are assurance and related services that are traditionally performed by the independent accountant. According to the SEC, "audit-related" fees are those "reasonably related to the performance of the audit or the registrant's financial statements, and include, among others, employee benefit plan audits, due diligence related to mergers and acquisitions, accounting consultations and audits in connection with acquisitions, internal control reviews, attest services related to financial reporting that are not required by statute or regulation and consultation concerning financial accounting and reporting standards. Other fees paid to the audit firm, such as tax, are not included.
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Where does this data come from?
CFO sources its data from Audit Analytics, which is widely recognized as the leading provider of audit fee data to the accounting, legal, and regulatory communities.
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Which audit firms are listed in the report and how are they identified?
Your CFO Audit Fee Report will list all firms involved in auditing companies within your peer group. In addition, the largest eight firms are included in all charts (if they audit members of your peer group). Because there are more than 100 regional and local firms, several of the charts aggregate regional and local firms into a single group to provide more meaningful comparisons. The top eight firms and the regional and local firms are identified in your report as shown here:
  • Ernst & Young (E&Y)
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)
  • Deloitte & Touche (D&T)
  • KPMG (KPMG)
  • Grant Thornton (GT)
  • BDO Seidman (BDO)
  • McGladrey & Pullen (M&P)
  • Crowe Horwath (CROWE)
  • Regional & Local (Regional & Local)
(Note that certain affiliates of the Big Four are aggregated into the regional & local category.)
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How is an average audit fee for a peer group calculated?
It is the sum of audit fees for that group, divided by the sum of revenues for that group. It is not the sum of the percentage values divided by the number of companies.
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How is my peer group created?
The CFO Audit Fee Report creates your peer group based on your company industry and revenue, or allows you to choose a peer group by selecting an industry and revenue range. The peer group you define is selected from the most recent year available, and then held constant in prior years in order to provide an apples-to-apples comparison year-over-year.

The Audit Fee Report tool allows you to chose from 10 revenue ranges and 11 industry categories defined by the SEC Office of the Assistant Director.

The revenue ranges are:

  • $1 - $1 million
  • $1 million - $10 million
  • $10 million - $25 million
  • $25 million - $50 million
  • $50 million - $100 million
  • $100 million - $250 million
  • $250 million - $500 million
  • $500 million - $1 billion
  • $1 billion - $5 billion
  • $5 billion and greater

The industry categories are:

  • Health Care and Insurance
  • Consumer Products
  • Computers and Online Services
  • Natural Resources and Food
  • Structured Finance, Transportation, and Leisure
  • Manufacturing and Construction
  • Financial Services
  • Real Estate and Business Services
  • Beverages, Apparel, and Health Care Services
  • Electronics and Machinery
  • Telecommunications

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How are audit fee percentages calculated and displayed?
Throughout this report, audit fees are presented as a percentage of companies' total revenue. Readers should bear in mind that the decimal value is a percentage of revenue, not a ratio. For example, 0.250% of revenue is a quarter of one percent of revenue, not 25% of revenue.
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How do you choose which years to offer in the report?
Based on user feedback, the CFO Audit Fee Report provides you with the most complete data set available at the time of your purchase. This represents a tradeoff between timeliness and completeness. Company filings containing the data needed to create a benchmark for the previous year generally start to become available in April, with the data set being substantially complete in early fall. CFO moves to a new year once the data set is substantially (98% or more) complete.
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Why do there appear to be more auditors for my peer group than companies?
If one or more companies in your peer group changed auditors during the year, both auditors are listed (the company will also be identified as a red flag). Among smaller company peer groups, where there are many auditors with only one or two clients, this can occasionally result in a larger number of auditors than companies. The results are still correct.
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Why do some companies on my peer group list appear twice?
If companies in your peer group changed auditors during the year, they appear twice on the list of peer group companies, so that fees paid to each auditor can be displayed. The results are still correct.
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My company has less than $1 million in revenue and the numbers in my report seem wrong.
In the lowest revenue range, there are a significant number of outliers that may cause unexpected results, notably the fact that many companies with little or no revenue still have a substantial audit bill (which makes their audit fee as a percent of revenue a very high number). This has the potential to skew some of the aggregate analyses. However, the report still contains all the underlying data about each company and its audit fees.
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