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July 15, 2008

Deloitte US outlines blueprint for $300 million staff learning and development centre

The world’s largest accountancy firm is to build a multi-million dollar learning and development centre to train and nurture a 45,000 person workforce. Deloitte US will invest $300 million in a 750,000 square feet (69,677 square metres) facility at Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, with construction due to begin next year.

Dubbed “Deloitte University” by the network’s global chief executive Jim Quigley, the facility will serve as a central hub for Deloitte talent in the region, including new hires, professionals, partners and leadership.

It will comprise of 800 guest rooms, classrooms, multiple conference spaces, dining venues, a ballroom, a business centre, recreational facilities and a fitness centre. The centre will host training programmes, leadership events, academic conferences and networking opportunities. Due for completion in 2011, the facility will be larger than the Louvre museum in Paris, which houses 35,000 works of art in 60,000 square metres.

Deloitte US partner Jon Eisele told the International Accounting Bulletin that the centre was motivated by a desire to invest in the learning and the leadership development of staff.

“The whole cultural aspect is also very important,” Eisele added. “You’ll have people meeting and sitting in a class with others from all over the world. When you become as large as our organisation you have to become more intentional and deliberate in protecting your culture.”

Quigley said the facility is likely to be used by member firms in Canada, Mexico, Latin America and further afield. He said the facility would also act as a beacon to attract new talent to the firm.

“When you think about building a world class campus and how it would influence the thinking of a key recruit that is trying to decide which professional services firm they want to work for, they see that campus and commitment built in their development. It’s going to impact how we compete for talent and how effective we are for retention,” he explained.

Deloitte confirmed the facility is likely to be used extensively to train audit personnel on IFRS as regulators edge closer towards allowing US listed companies the choice of reporting under global accounting standards. This will be one of the largest training exercises ever undertaken by the US profession, but both Quigley and Eisele stressed the IFRS training requirement was not a factor in the timing of the announcement.

The International Accounting Bulletin understands that architects have drafted several blueprints of the facility but no design concept has been rubber stamped at this “early stage”.

Deloitte said the centre would be built according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards established by the US Green Building Council.

Arvind Hickman and Nicholas Moody

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