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
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

“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

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.