Corporations paid $10.5 billion in fees to auditors in 2006, up from $6.4 billion in 2001, according to a study of 3,139 companies released today by the Corporate Library. Sarbanes-Oxley, enacted in 2002, was partly responsible for the increase. Of the companies studied, General Motors Corp. paid the highest fees to an auditing firm in 2006, $156 million to Deloitte & Touche and its affiliate, Deloitte Consulting.
Also according to the study: The median increase in audit fees rose 345.68% between 2001 and 2006; the median total auditor cost rose to $2.741 million in 2006 from $1.42 million in 2001; the number of audit firms in the market rose to 22 in 2006 from nine in 2001; and the median tenure of an audit firm rose to five years from four years in the past year.
Industry group does not have a consistent effect on auditing costs, with the highest costs being paid by different industry groups in different years, the study said.