Deloitte

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Deloitte's London offices.Source: Spinwatch
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu International - Deloitte - is an organisation of member firms around the world in accounting and financial and risk consultancy. Member firms offer services in audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory through a global client services strategy executed locally in nearly 140 countries.[1] The parent group is Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Just four accounting firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte & Touche and Ernst & Young – audit 97 per cent of FTSE 350 companies[2] and 99 per cent of the FTSE 100 on the London Stock Exchange. [3] In February 2013 all four firms were criticised by the UK Competition Commission for being "insufficiently independent" of the City.

Deloitte's clients include firms facing intense public backlash and scrutiny over tax avoidance allegations, such as Vodafone and Starbucks.

Controversies and conflicts of interest

According to Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation, "Conflicts of interest are built into the very DNA of the big professional services firms. These companies are working with firms that need to be regulated and the government bodies that are regulating".

Tax avoidance

The Big Four accountancy firms were behind almost half of all known [tax] avoidance schemes, the Revenue (HMRC) said in 2006.[4]

Secondments to the Treasury

In 2013 a report by the influential UK Commons public accounts committee found that the Big Four were using knowledge gained from staff seconded to the Treasury "to help wealthy clients avoid paying UK taxes". The firms, it said, went on to "advise multinationals and individuals on how to exploit loopholes around legislation they had helped to write".

PAC committee chair Margaret Hodge said the accountancy firms' actions represented a "ridiculous conflict of interest". She called for the Treasury to stop accepting their staff to draw up new tax laws. "The large accountancy firms are in a powerful position in the tax world and have an unhealthily cosy relationship with government," she said. [5]

'Contributions' to parties

During the UK Coalition government the 'big four' firms have contributed almost £2.5 million to Britain's three main political parties. As of April 2015, Deloitte had contributed £269,320. The contributions are listed as 'non-cash donations', representing the value of staff costs and services (secondments) such as consultancy or advisory and are provided to the party free of charge. Of the £2.5 million from the 'big four', the Labour Party received £1.5 million and the Liberal Democrats received £742,362.

Under the previous Labour government, the Conservative Party received £1.7 million, including roughly £670,000 of Deloitte's total of £682,911.[6]

In the three years to July 2012 Deloitte gave £435,034 in staff costs and consultancy services to the Conservative Party and £13,500 to Labour, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Deloitte said:

It is Deloitte’s policy not to give cash contributions to any political party or other groups with a political agenda. However, we do seek to develop and maintain constructive and balanced relationships with each of the main political parties and may make available staff and adviser resources, and technical and factual information on occasion. [7]

Former tax top dog through the revolving door

In late May 2013 it emerged that the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) and David Cameron had approved Deloitte's appointment of Dave Hartnett, the former head of UK's tax office HMRC for a one-day-a-week consultancy position. Hartnett had come under pressure over his 'sweetheart deals' with Deloitte client Vodafone which saw the firm pay only £1.25billion of an estimated £6billion due (a figure disputed by Vodafone).

A spokesman for Deloitte told The Guardian:

Dave Hartnett will work as a consultant to Deloitte advising foreign governments and tax administrations, primarily in the developing world. He has significant experience in advising such countries on the development of effective tax regimes, necessary to ensure their continued economic growth. He will not work with UK companies or with HMRC. [8]

UK Govt should stop "playing to the gallery" on corporate tax

In August 2013 the head of Deloitte UK, David Sproul, made the claim that various companies advised by Deloitte had put on hold their plans to move operations to the UK because of the UK government's 'mixed messages' on tax. His comments in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper came on the same day the government launched its consultation on proposals for hefty fines of up to £1million for 'cowboy' promoters of high-risk tax avoidance schemes.

Sproul argued that the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) high-profile attempt to 'determine what the fair share of tax is' for large firms, for example Starbucks and Amazon, had prompted a 'pause in some firms' thinking, despite recent tax changes favouring the corporate world including a 20 per cent cut in corporate taxation by 2015, and changes to the controlled foreign company rules. Sproul explained that:

They look at the PAC, they look at some of the media, and interpret that as lack of certainty,” he continued. If you’re in America, you would think that this Margaret Hodge [chairman of the PAC] seems to be setting the law.
It does require the Government to be more consistent, so if they want to attract big business here, and they want to use a competitive tax regime as one of the planks of that attractiveness, then they need to deliver on that consistently and not frankly be playing to the gallery at times, and stop playing off the PAC arguments. [9]

Deloitte loses appeal over MG Rover conflicts of interest ruling

In July 2013 Deloitte 'lost an appeal over a regulatory ruling that it failed to manage conflicts of interest in its advice to MG Rover Group and the "Phoenix Four" directors who bought the UK carmaker before it collapsed'.

People

Notable former employees

Lobbyists

MPs

  • Deloitte supplied Iain Wright, Shadow Minister for Competitiveness and Enterprise with an assistant free of charge in 2013 to help write Labour's business policy


Affiliations

Policy planning, think tanks, trade associations

Shale gas conference sponsor

Frackrig larger.png This article is part of the Spinwatch Fracking Portal and project

One of four corporate sponsors of the high-profile Shale UK conference held March 2014 in London, organised on behalf of The Geological Society.

Contacts

London offices:

2 New Street Square
London
EC4A 3BZ
3 New Street Square
London
EC4A 3BT
Athene Place
66 Shoe Lane
London
EC4A 3BQ
Hill House
1 Little New Street
London
EC4A 3TR
Stonecutter Court
1 Stonecutter Street
London
EC4A 4TR
Buckley Building
49 Clerkenwell Green
London
EC4A 3BZ
6 Grosvenor Street
London
W1K 4DJ
7 Princes Street
London
EC2R 8AQ
Website: http://www.deloitte.com

External resources

References

  1. Deliotte Touche About Deliotte Touche accessed 31.01.07
  2. Prem Sikka, Called to account, The Guardian, 14 December 2008
  3. Prem Sikka, Auditors must be held to account, The Guardian, 31 May 2012
  4. Gilt-edged profits for profession's 'big four', Guardian, 7 February 2009
  5. Rajeev Syal, Simon Bowers and Patrick Wintour, [Accountancy firms 'use knowledge of Treasury to help rich avoid tax' – MPs] The Guardian, Friday 26 April 2013, acc 12 June 2013
  6. Carlos Martin Tornero Labour to win, if Big Four donation patterns become self-fulfilling prophecy The Accountant, 5 May 2015, accessed 18 May 2015.
  7. Maeve McClenaghan, |How ‘big four’ get inside track by loaning staff to government, Bureau of Investigative Journalism, July 10th, 2012
  8. Simon Neville, Deloitte appoints official criticised over 'sweetheart' tax deals, The Guardian, 27 May 2013 21.16 BST
  9. James Quinn, Companies spurn UK over taxation, says Deloitte boss Telegraph, 12 August 2013, 12.01am BST
  10. Rajeev Syal, Simon Bowers and Patrick Wintour, Accountancy firms 'use knowledge of Treasury to help rich avoid tax' – MPs, The Guardian, 26 April 2013, acc same day
  11. APPC Register Entry for 1 December 2010 to 28 February 2011
  12. APPC Register 1 March - 31 May 2013, APPC Register 1 March - 31 May 2014
  13. APPC Register 1 March - 31 May 2014
  14. American Benefits Council Memberships Accessed 26th February 2008