Audit Profession in Greece: A Case of the Merger of Small and Medium Practices
A virtual meeting was held on June 30th for Georgian statutory auditors and other stakeholders interested in learning about the functioning of the audit profession in Greece and the history of the unique merger of 197 auditors into a single audit firm that continues to successfully operate to this day.
Following introductory speeches by Head of SARAS and Deputy Chairman of HAASOB, brief remarks at the event were presented by representatives of Georgian professional organizations GFPAA and GFAAFM.
One of the invited speakers, Mr Apostolos Polizos of the Greek professional organization SOEL gave an overview of different stages of development of the audit profession in Greece since 1957, particularly focusing on the foundation of SOEL in 1993. Mr Polizos discussed the organizational structure of SOEL, licensing requirements for auditors and audit firms, the register of statutory auditors and the special register of trainees, continuous education requirements for auditors, quality control of PIE and non-PIE auditors, and latest observations on the current audit market in Greece.
Mr Dimitrios Dritsas, on the other hand, delivered a presentation in which he detailed the establishment of JSC SOL through voluntary merger of 197 auditors in 1993, elaborating on the process of negotiations which led to the merger and presenting the main articles of the firm’s charter. The merger of SMPs into a large audit firm was described as an attempt for Greek auditors to not only survive in a highly competitive market, but also to improve performance enough to actually compete with the big four. In this effort JSC SOL, which has since become SOL Crowe, has achieved remarkable results as it has been able to retain the leading position on the market throughout the last 25 years.
The event was organized by SARAS within the frames of the twinning project and represented one of the initiatives developed last year during the study visit of professional organizations in Greece.