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September 29, 2008updated 29 Apr 2022 7:44am

Accountancy firms to keep hiring despite financial sector meltdown

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 workforce.

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 year.

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 said.

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 gold.

“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.”

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