Singapore based Ardent Associates joins Kreston

07 August 2015

Accounting network Kreston has expanded its presence in Singapore with Ardent Associates, adding a range of complementary services to Kreston David Yeung, its existing member firm in the country.

With six Partners and over 50 professional and support staff, Ardent Associates offers valuation, business advisory, restructuring, insolvency and litigation support to businesses in Singapore and the region. Ardent Associates also support clients, both large as well as medium-sized companies, with business set-up consultancy services including enterprise cloud solutions.

“We are delighted to welcome Ardent Associates to Kreston. Singapore is gaining a significantly greater importance as a regional centre of business development in Asia and we are committed to building the strongest available representation in each of the major markets around the world for the benefit of the global network. The firm will work in collaboration with Kreston’s existing firm in Singapore, Kreston David Yeung, which supports this admission,” comments Jon Lisby, CEO of Kreston.

Singapore based Ardent Associates joins Kreston network

Terence Ng, Partner at Ardent Associates, says he is “delighted to be part of the Kreston International network”, adding “we look forward to working closely with and building enduring relationships with our fellow Kreston members globally.”

Kreston has more than 20,000 professionals in over 100 countries, making it one of the globe’s largest accounting networks. The professional services giant was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in the UK. Earlier this month Kreston boosted its presence in Thailand with the addition of Thai Info.

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Deloitte wins CRH role from Big Four rival

14 March 2019

Big Four professional services firm Deloitte has secured a new contract as the external auditor of construction industry manufacturer CRH. The firm will replace rival EY in the role as of 2020.

Formed from a merger of Cement and Roadstone in 1970, CRH is an international group of diversified building materials businesses which manufacture and supply of a wide range of products for the construction industry. The company is incorporated and domiciled in Ireland, where it ranks as the largest Irish company.

Since 1988, the firm has been audited by Big Four firm EY; however due to the length of its tenure as well as the firm’s sizable non-audit work for CRH, it was decided the time was right to find a new auditor. In 2018 CRH paid EY £1 million in non-audit fees, representing 6% of the £17.2 million in total fees it paid to the Big Four firm for the year.

Deloitte wins CRH role from Big Four rival

In its 2018 annual report, CRH noted that the audit committee conducted a competitive tender process in which three firms were invited to apply. EY was not invited to compete in the tender process, and eventually its Big Four rival Deloitte was chosen to replace the firm as external auditor for the FTSE 100 building materials provider. The evaluation was done on a “fee-blind basis”, in which fees are negotiated after the appointment has been decided.

The new contract for Deloitte will begin from 2020 onwards. According to CRH’s report, the decision is no reflection on EY’s performance as auditor, with the company stating this “did not compromise [EY’s] independence or integrity."

“[While] the Committee appreciated the quality of the proposals presented by all the firms, it believes that the strength and experience of Deloitte’s team best met the predefined criteria it had set,” the report added.

While it is common for Big Four firms to replace one another when it comes to large auditing contracts, the switch comes at a delicate time, when the domination of the market by the quartet is under intense scrutiny in the UK. Last year, the UK’s fifth largest accounting and advisory firm Grant Thornton withdrew from bidding for FTSE 350 audit tenders, which it claimed cost the firm as much as £300,000 an attempt, while rarely yielding a new contract. The move sparked multiple calls for a competition probe, with critics suggesting the Big Four’s stranglehold was compromising the integrity of the auditing industry.