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September 24, 2009

Grant Thornton gains big Boliv

Grant Thornton International’s admission of large Bolivian firm Acevedo & Asociados represents a major coup for the mid-tier network but is also the result of a strategic shift for Deloitte in the South American nation.

Acevedo & Asociados is the second-largest Bolivian firm and names some of the nation’s largest companies among its clientele.

The firm chose to leave Deloitte in 2008 because the Big Four network wanted to change its membership status from full member firm to correspondent firm.

A Deloitte spokesperson told the International Accounting Bulletin the relationship with Acevedo & Asociados was “terminated” and a new Bolivian practice has been established under the direct supervision of Deloitte Argentina.

Grant Thornton Acevedo & Asociados managing partner Rodolfo Acevedo said the firm left because it was not happy about Deloitte’s new strategy.

“The conditions that Deloitte put to this firm were that they were going to decrease their level from a member firm to a correspondent firm,” Acevedo said.

“With Grant Thornton we were fully accepted as members so it’s a more advantageous position for us.”

Acevedo believes Deloitte made the strategic shift in the Bolivian market because of the current political situation.

“In the eyes of the world some companies for foreign investment are reluctant to stay in the Bolivian market and Deloitte was one of them,” he said.

“The current president (Evo Morales) is governing his country in a populist way. Right now the policies of the Bolivian Government are to nationalise many of the natural resources companies such as gas and oil to put them back in the hands of the state. This gives uncertainty to foreign investors.”

Grant Thornton Acevedo & Asociados has offices in Cochabamba, La Paz and Santa Cruz. The firm has six partners and 130 professional staff. The state-owned oil company YPFB Andina and the bank Banco Económico are among its clients.

Audit contributes more than 70 percent of revenue and the firm also offers tax, consulting, legal and outsourcing services.

The firm, placed behind Pricewaterhouse-Coopers and above KPMG, hopes Grant Thornton’s international network will help it gain more inward referral work and grow.

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