Grant Thornton UK is planning to axe about 225 staff as the
effects of the economic downturn take hold and the integration
process with Robson Rhodes comes to an end.

The bulk of job losses are expected to occur in corporate
finance, although others areas will be trimmed as a result of
efficiency gains that have been made due to the integration
process.

Graduate positions will not be affected and the firm said it
will attempt to offer staff secondment opportunities and career
breaks in an effort to save as many positions as possible.

Grant Thornton International chief executive David McDonnell
told the International Accounting Bulletin that staff cuts
in the UK are not a sign of widespread job losses across the
network.

“There have been some reductions in the UK but elsewhere we
certainly don’t have any specific programmes of reductions,”
McDonnell said.

“There is always going to be isolated cases when [you have a
global staff of] 30,000 people. But the US is not going through
that, which is the biggest employer in the network, and it’s not
happening in the main firms in Europe or in Canada where we have
the big blocks of employment. So it will be very isolated.”

Grant Thornton joins a growing list of large accounting firms
who have begun feeling the pinch of the economic downturn. Earlier
this year, KPMG UK revealed it had made 90 staff redundant, while
Deloitte US, the world’s largest firm, cut 800 jobs.

Grant Thornton UK recently began a review of staff across all
business units to match employee numbers with revised fee income
forecasts.

“Although we are looking to protect employment by redeploying
people wherever possible and offering some secondments and career
breaks, the review indicates that we are likely to lose around 5
percent of our total 4,500 people, including partners,” the firm
said.

“Some of this will be through retirement and we are looking to
achieve as much as possible through voluntary redundancy during the
consultation process.”

The International Accounting Bulletin understands that
secondment opportunities may exist at Grant Thornton offices in
Dubai, Bahrain, Australia and Canada.

Job losses are expected to occur until mid-December.

In an unrelated move, the firm has also revealed it will close
its office in Nottingham and move staff to a new site in
Leicester.

Arvind Hickman