New research: financial executives research foundation: what others are paying for audit fees.

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How do your company's audit fees compare with those of other companies? A new research report, released by Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), the research affiliate of Financial Executives International (FED, provides results of its annual survey of audit fees.

This year's results summarize the responses of executives from 87 United States publicly held companies, 118 U.S. privately held companies and 16 non-profit organizations.

Audit fees paid by the public companies responding to the survey for fiscal year 2012 averaged $4.5 million. This average represented an increase of 4 percent from the audit fees that these same respondents paid for their prior fiscal year audit.

The total audit fees paid by the private companies responding to the survey averaged $147,800, an increase of 3 percent over their prior year audit.

Among other key survey results:

* Public companies responding to the survey were, on average, larger than the private companies, responding in terms of annual sales revenues.

* The number of audit hours required for the responding public companies averaged 16,737. The hours required for private companies averaged 1,769.

* The average audit fees of companies with centralized operations were significantly less than those with decentralized operations, for both public and privately held companies.

* A greater percentage of public company respondents (87 percent) used Big Four audit firms than did either private company respondents (29 percent) or non-profit organizations (38 percent).

* Most large accelerated filers (75 percent) list their shares on either the NYSE...

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