September 08, 2016

With respect to the Big Four, it is all déjà vu

Sir, I refer to Brooke Master’s “A clubby oligopoly that is overdue for reform” of August 20 and to your editorial “Accountancy’s Big Four need more competition” August 25.

“The Big Four accounting firms became big by marketing the value of their size. Now they want to have their cake and eat it too, asking to be sheltered from ruinous lawsuits. If accountability is to mean anything in accounting, we cannot afford to turn the concept of professional responsibility into a risk model of affordability.

Individual professionals and small firms lay their names on the line, day after day. If the Big Four cannot handle it, they had better let go. Then we might all be better off. At least the systemic risks will be smaller.”

Sir and that is a letter I wrote and that you published in May 2004, 12 years ago, before I became a pariah to FT.

And years earlier, in 1997, in an Op-Ed in Venezuela I had analyzed much of that issue though from a slightly more local angle. It is amazing to see how serious problems are identified, and then nothing is done to solve these, and they come back to haunt us over and over again.

PS. Brooke Master writes in her piece that a disgruntled PwC trainee described PwC as a “meat grinder” and moaned about how boring the job” Does that not sound like accounting could become ready for the use of robots?

@PerKurowski ©