The Impact of Audit Fees and Tax Burdens on Nigerian Businesses

Feranmi Olaseinde

Hatched by Feranmi Olaseinde

Aug 03, 2023

3 min read


The Impact of Audit Fees and Tax Burdens on Nigerian Businesses


In the dynamic landscape of Nigerian business, audit fees and tax burdens play a significant role in shaping the financial health of companies. Recently, it was revealed that seven commercial banks listed on the Nigerian Exchange Group paid a staggering N1.39 billion to auditing firms in the first quarter of 2023. Additionally, concerns have been raised by the International Centre against an increased tax burden, particularly the potential negative consequences of raising Value Added Tax (VAT). In this article, we will explore the intricacies of audit fees and tax burdens on Nigerian businesses, examining their commonalities and potential impacts.

Audit Fees and Influencing Factors:

The payment of audit fees to auditing firms is a customary practice for companies in various industries. The amount of audit fees charged is influenced by several factors. These factors include the size of the company, the industry it operates in, corporate risk, profitability, and the duration of the audit. Larger companies with complex operations often require more extensive audits, leading to higher fees. For instance, Access Holding Company paid a substantial N606 million to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), making it the top bank in terms of audit costs for the first quarter of 2023.

The Role of Auditing Firms:

Auditing firms, such as PwC, KPMG, EY, and Deloitte, provide crucial services to businesses in ensuring financial transparency and compliance. Through rigorous financial audits, these firms help companies identify potential risks, enhance internal controls, and maintain regulatory compliance. Moreover, audits provide stakeholders, including investors and creditors, with a reliable assessment of a company's financial health. The payment of audit fees to these firms acknowledges the value and expertise they bring to the table.

Impact of Tax Burden:

As businesses navigate the complex tax landscape in Nigeria, concerns have been raised regarding the potential consequences of an increased tax burden. The International Centre has warned the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against raising the Value Added Tax (VAT) as a solution. One of the primary concerns is the possibility of employees being laid off, leading to an increase in unemployment rates. The Centre argues that taking VAT services to the market does not align with the VAT system, as traders act as intermediaries between manufacturers and distributors.

Connecting Audit Fees and Tax Burdens:

While seemingly distinct, audit fees and tax burdens share commonalities in their impact on Nigerian businesses. Both factors directly influence a company's financial health and can significantly affect its profitability. High audit fees, although essential for maintaining financial transparency, can strain a company's resources, particularly for smaller businesses. Similarly, an increased tax burden, such as higher VAT rates, can negatively impact a company's bottom line and potentially lead to cost-cutting measures, including layoffs.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize Efficiency: To mitigate the impact of high audit fees, companies should focus on optimizing their internal controls and financial reporting systems. By streamlining processes and ensuring accuracy in financial statements, businesses can potentially reduce the time and resources required for audits.
  • 2. Engage in Tax Planning: In light of concerns surrounding increased tax burdens, businesses should invest in tax planning strategies. By proactively managing their tax obligations and exploring available exemptions and incentives, companies can minimize their tax liabilities and maintain profitability.
  • 3. Advocate for Fair Tax Policies: Businesses can play an active role in shaping tax policies by engaging in dialogue with relevant authorities. Through constructive discussions and advocating for fair and balanced tax regulations, companies can influence policy decisions that align with their interests while considering the broader economic impact.


The payment of audit fees and the burden of taxes are integral aspects of the Nigerian business landscape. While audit fees reflect the value provided by auditing firms in ensuring financial transparency, tax burdens can significantly impact a company's profitability and workforce. By prioritizing efficiency, engaging in tax planning, and advocating for fair tax policies, businesses can navigate these challenges and maintain long-term sustainability in the ever-evolving Nigerian economy.

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