The Guardian featured an opinion piece criticizing the big 4 this past weekend on June 3. They were mainly criticizing PwC, but they also threw some shots at the other firms.
They started out with mentioning the size of the big 4 and how much revenue they make. They also mentioned how much revenue they could make from the Australian government – $2 billion which we previously mentioned on our podcast.
Then the article goes on to mention how the big 4 market themselves as the solvers of all corporate problems but are often incompetent. The authors say that it is hard to determine a strategy of the big 4.
Pwc says that they work with businesses, government and community to deliver solutions and sustained outcomes. The article makes a funny joke saying that the sustained outcome could be bankruptcy – which I agree with. The authors say that the big 4 seemingly “do everything” that a company or government might want as an outsourced service.
The article says that how can the big 4 be trusted to be helping the common folk when they help corporations avoid taxes.
The article goes on to talk about EY’s failed split. The authors say that the EY split shows that the big 4 can’t break themselves up and leave themselves open to splits on someone else’s timeline. They reference Enron and Arthur Anderson as examples.
My thoughts about the article
I think the authors are right that if the big 4 don’t split themselves up, they will have someone else split them up. This will most likely be governments. The big 4 might be completely banned from certain countries if they don’t split their audit and consulting practices. In the case of the PwC Australia tax leaks, PwC would have to split their tax consulting practice into multiple units. One that consults governments and one that consults companies. I can already let you know that there isn’t enough government tax consulting to be done for this to be feasible – which is how we got here in the first place.
I don’t think it is the