• PwC’s Non-Announcement

    By • Aug 21st, 2008 • Category: Pure Content


    I got a lot of mail yesterday telling me about PwC’s move to reorganize their global network, ostensibly to follow the lead of EY, KPMG and Deloitte to a better, more efficient, seamless global network to serve their global clients.

    Like so many other things with PwC, it’s all talk and no real substance.

    Here’s the gist of the announcement.
    PwC jumps on merger bandwagon
    Alex Hawkes, Accountancy Age, 20 Aug 2008
    Firm sets up three ‘clusters’ to bring national firms closer together

    PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world’s largest audit firm, is to jump on the international merger bandwagon, forming international ‘clusters’ for its networks of firms.

    Following a path laid down by Ernst & Young, the smallest of the Big Four in the UK, PwC has announced today that it is to form three major geographic ‘clusters’…

    …Agility and speed are crucial to the future success of our clients and PwC itself. These adjustments to our organisational structure will improve the integrated service we offer and align our strategy more closely around the world.

    ‘The revised structure, and the expanded set of network standards that accompany it, are rooted firmly in the partnership culture that has made PwC the leading professional services network in the world. While our member firms will be more closely aligned and more responsive, they will continue to be locally owned and managed, preserving the high level of accountability to our stakeholders and regulators, while encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit that has been the foundation of their success. These changes preserve our approach of a global service delivered locally.’


    Jennifer Hughes at the Financial Times echoes my skepticism and also chides PwC for believing no one outside the firm cares. I remember one partner who said the same thing to me when I asked about the Japan issue when I was still working there. “Francine, no one cares about that, even in the firm, except the most senior partners.  Who do you think you are worrying about such things?   Now let’s talk instead about how to improve your writing skills so we can get a better, less inflammatory, internal audit report on those business alliances issues…”
    Talk about insular, arrogant, with a thumb up their a**!

    From J. Hughes at FT:
    Ask PwC about the global reorganisation plans it announced on Wednesday and many of its senior partners will shrug and tell you it is not really a subject of interest to anyone outside the firm.

    I beg to differ. When the biggest of the Big Four announces plans to align its member firms more closely and introduce “enhanced” standards across its network, – many of whom will be its clients – and to the multiple regulators who oversee it…


    I was “Google Alerted” all day to PwC’s announcement, much to my consternation, since I had Twittered my reaction early in the day. It was a fit of creative genius inspired by the wave I was riding from my quote in FT.
    Just an aside….
    When asked to identify myself for the Financial Times quote, I said, “Francine McKenna, author of the blog re: The Auditors.”
    FT put in the additional reference of “…former Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.”  Honestly, I no more need to be identified to PwC than they probably want that reference showing up in every major news story where I hope to be quoted in the future or under my name when I’m on CNBC.
    I would rather that the tag line be, “…and first and still only female Managing Director in Latin America for BearingPoint,”  or ” …woman, writer, warrior for shareholder rights,” or “friend to shorts,” or even  “…Rosie the Rott’s mom,” than former Director at PwC.
    Frankly, other than the insights I gained while auditing them (you’ll have to wait for the book for that,) and the few really genuine people I met, the experience was a bust.  Almost two years out my life not writing, speaking, or doing what I like, other than kicking partner ass in Washington DC and Jersey City.

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    1. […] be in India next week to work the political angles to make sure the firm is not kicked out. Their new “cluster” structure implies a global organization but, still, in their minds, protects them from shared liability. […]

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