As corporate practices around the world are being forced to
adjust to the recent turmoil in the global economy, professional
service firms in the hardest hit markets are adapting and in many
cases likely to increase work forces.

Deloitte US, the world’s largest firm, recently axed 800 of its
employees in a move the firm said was motivated by “cutting costs
like everybody else” (see International Accounting Bulletin
issue 435
). This represented about 2 percent of the firm’s

Other Big Four firms have also made adjustments to areas that
have suffered as a result of clients being affected by the credit
crisis. A spokesperson for KPMG UK said the firm recently laid off
90 staff members, mostly in its corporate finance sector. He noted
that KPMG is still recruiting in other areas and the business
continues to grow.

Ernst & Young (E&Y) said it has no plans to cut staff
and anticipates a number of new recruits in the coming year.

E&Y UK media relations manager Claire Rice said: “In the
financial year 2009, we will expect to process several million job
applications and recruit more than 50,000 people into our
organisation worldwide.”

RSM McGladrey managing director of corporate human resources
Kimpa Moss said the firm is “in a period of adding staff” and the
only indication of a slowdown is in fee income figures. Moss
anticipates the firm will hire more than 1,000 people in the next

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A BDO Seidman spokesperson said the signs of the credit crunch
have been visible since 2007, during which time the firm has hired
more than 200 staff.

“To meet demand we have borrowed professionals from other
business lines in addition to recruiting external talent,” he

Although segments of the financial services sector are being
flooded with talent at present, Robert Half UK director Neil Owen
said accountants should not be concerned.

“The demand is high,” Owen said. “A lot of the work accountants
do is putting in controls around accounting policy procedures.
Therefore, a lot of accountants are worth any company’s weight in

“You would never say a job is highly secure in this market but
you would like to think a good accountant is adding value to its
organisation and is going to be much needed.”