Big four what?
: Tendências de negócio das grandes auditoras

  • Ana Maria Ferreira Maia Andrade e Castro (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The present dissertation, entitled “Big four what?”, aims to portray the business trends of the better auditors in a context in which the technological, regulatory and even social importance attributed to the audit is visible and where, in a complementary way, new opportunities arise in the neighboring management consulting market. In order to contextualize the study object of this work, we start by clarifying the audit, consulting and Big four concepts. The investigation carried out, with a special focus on the portuguese market, allowed us to conclude that the market where the Big four operate has changed over the last decade, marked, from the outset, by the growth of the consulting business.
The four major auditing firms, as international giants of the sector, respect general norms, but specially locals, with a special focus on Sarbanes-Oxley law, in the USA and at the European Audit Reform, in Europe. As a consequence, the activity and exercise of these companies depends, today, on a set of restrictions of several domains, with emphasis on the separation and limitation of the provision of non-audit services to audit clients. The importance of reputation and name associated with a Big Four company in the choice process was also perceived, making clear the interviewees' position regarding competition and the sector's high level of concentration.
In general, it was concluded that the audit has become more demanding and complex. While some argue that this phenomenon led to a negatively adulterated profession, for others claim it has become a unique opportunity to enhance the quality and credibility of their services.
Date of Award16 Jul 2021
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorJosé Miguel Oliveira (Supervisor)


  • Audit
  • Consulting
  • Statutory auditor
  • Big four
  • Business trends


  • Mestrado em Gestão

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