Last month in Financial Director Liberal Democrats leader Sir Vince Cable called for a break-up of the Big Four accountancy firms, driven by concerns around the collapse of Carillion- where KPMG, PwC, EY and Deloitte earned £70m over the last decade.

This week Cable continued his criticism, referencing how PwC worked for all three parties involved in the liquidation of Carillion- the company, the government and the pension scheme.

He also mentioned the Financial Reporting Council’s investigation of KPMG’s audit of Carillion over suggestions the firm failed to spot problems in the months before it collapsed, and that two of the last three finance directors came from KPMG.

Cable’s call for a break-up of the Big Four was joined by Kiltearn Partners, a leading shareholder in Carillion, which claims it had been misled by the company’s accounts and had raised concerns about the shortcomings of KPMG.

In response Michael Izza, chief executive of accountancy body ICAEW says a break-up of the big Four is wrong. He says it would cause more problems than it would solve.

But then along comes another scandal in the making. Yesterday the Times reported that high street bank Lloyds TSB (now Lloyds Banking Group) agreed to “remove” £800,000 of fees due to be paid to PwC from its 2008 accounts in order to avoid breaching internal rules governing auditor independence, according to documents revealed in a High Court battle.

The newspaper said according to internal emails the bank indicated that it would move fees due for “independent business reviews” of troubled companies conducted by PwC to a previous accounting period so that it could keep awarding the accountancy firm lucrative work without breaching a £2 million limit imposed by Lloyds’ audit committee.

These are challenging times for the audit profession. A groundswell of anger seems to be growing that audit problems are being exacerbated by the dominance of the Big Four accountancy firms in an uncompetitive market.

Please offer your views to Finance Director on what should happen to the audit market- whether the Big Four should be broken up or the market opened up through an alternative approach, or whether the status quo is appropriate.