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September 24, 2009

News Digest

RECRUITMENT Big Four make top 10 in graduate employer list

PricewaterhouseCoopers has been voted the top UK graduate employer of 2009 for the sixth straight year in a recent poll of the top 100 graduate employers by The Times.

The other Big Four accounting firms all made it into the top 10. Deloitte took second spot, which was the same as last year; KPMG came in at five, dropping two places from third in 2008; while Ernst & Young rose one place to number 10.

Other professional services firms that made it onto the list were mid-tier firm BDO Stoy Hayward at 67, which was a new entry, and Grant Thornton, which dropped one place to 98. 

PEOPLE Deloitte strengthens telecoms data team

Deloitte UK has appointed Carl Bates and Ed Marsden as partners within its technology, media and telecoms data team.

Bates was previously managing director of the consulting firm Detica. Prior to that, he spent four years at Deloitte.

Marsden also joined from Detica where he led the telecoms, media and technology practice.

Deloitte’s global leader of the technology, media and telecoms practice Jolyon Barker said: “They will focus on the telecoms arena specifically on data, security and technology transformation.”

OVERSIGHT Bahamas institute implements audit inspections

The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) is about to launch a practice monitoring programme to ensure firms comply with auditing and quality control standards.

All firms will be subject to inspection visits, which will include a review of the firm’s quality control policies and procedures and an examination of a number of completed audits.

The BICA is launching the programme both to inspire confidence in the quality of audit in the Bahamas and to comply with International Federation of Accountants requirements.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants will conduct the monitoring visits on the BICA’s behalf.

LEGAL Former employee sues PwC for $40m

Romanian Mihaela Popa has sued PricewaterhouseCoopers UK (PwC) a record amount in damages on the grounds of a previous discrimination claim.

She is demanding £40 million ($65.7 million) in compensation for loss of earnings and hurt feelings, the highest amount ever claimed in such a dispute.

Popa had previously lost tribunal claims of race discrimination, constructive unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal against PwC in 2007.

She resigned from her £41,000 a year job as a forensic accountant at PwC in November 2006 after suffering a nervous breakdown.

Popa has since worked for two other banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, but was made redundant by both and now claims that PwC were to blame for sabotaging her future career.

PwC denies the allegations made by Popa and said it will vigorously defend the new claim.


PEOPLE PwC UK appoints community affairs leader 

David Adair David Adair has been appointed to lead PricewaterhouseCoopers UK (PwC) community affairs team. The firm said the team is a key element of its sustainability strategy and promotes social inclusion in the communities in which the firm is based.

The social inclusion is fostered through a range of education, employability and environment programmes.

Adair will also be responsible for managing the firm’s links with national and community partners such as Business in the Community, The Prince’s Trust, Education Enterprise Trust and Shakespeare’s Globe.

Adair joined PwC’s community affairs team in 2001.

He previously worked with the National Association of Care and Resettlement of Offenders, established the Prince’s Trust Team programme in Southwark and Lambeth, and undertook a variety of roles in the creative industries.

Last year, 4,600 PwC volunteers contributed more than 41,000 hours to communities nationwide.

OVERSIGHT Deloitte receives mixed bag in MG Rover report

Deloitte UK has been criticised for its role as a corporate finance adviser to the collapsed car manufacturer MG Rover but received a clean bill of health over its audit work.

In a long-awaited report on the collapse, compiled by BDO Stoy Hayward, the Big Four firm received criticism over its role in the Phoenix Four’s acquisition of most of BMW’s Rover loan book called ‘Project Platinum’.

The report, which is 850-pages, states Deloitte should not have accepted information from Ian Whyte, a key figure in the disposal of the Rover loan book on behalf of BMW who was also potentially involved in MG Rover’s bid for the book.

“[Whyte] thus had a conflict of interest and should not have continued to be involved with the sale of the loan book without informing BMW that there was a possibility of his taking part in an MBO which, in our view, he did not do,” the report said.

Deloitte made £28.8 million ($46.7 million) in non-audit fees between 2000 and 2005, which was 15 times more than it received in total audit fees.

The report, which praises Deloitte’s audit work, has been referred to the UK Financial Reporting Council.

FINANCIAL RESULTS PwC Scotland office grows revenue

The Scottish office of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) UK has increased revenue by 3 percent to £111 million ($185 million) in its 2007/08 fiscal year.

PwC said the oil and gas sector demonstrated more resilience than other sectors and highlighted the contribution of the Aberdeen office.

The Scottish tax practice grew more than 10 percent compared with a decline of 4 percent suffered by the tax practice of PwC UK. 

OVERSIGHT Japanese regulator sets oversight criteria

Japan’s Certified Public Accountants and Auditing Oversight Board and the Financial Services Agency have published a framework for the inspection and supervision of foreign audit firms.

Firms that audit listed companies must also provide information about their operation and quality control systems, inspections and audit quality reviews.

Japan’s regulator will rely on data provided by authorities in a firm’s home jurisdiction as long as certain criteria are met.

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