Grant Thornton cuts partner numbers

Mid-tier firm Grant Thornton has confirmed it is shedding a ‘small number’ of partners in a bid to save costs, in a year which has seen the firm pay a hefty fine over audit failing at AssetCo and come under the microscope over its audit of collapsed café chain Patisserie Valerie

A spokesperson for Grant Thornton UK told Accountancy Daily: ‘Like all businesses, we regularly review our operating structure. I can confirm that a small number of partners will leave our firm over the coming months.

‘This builds on steps we’ve already taken over the last year to ensure our operations are aligned to the changing needs of our clients and their stakeholders.’

Around a dozen partners are believed to have been let go, while the firm also made a round of redundancies among its administrative staff earlier this year, with some 50 posts disappearing.

The Grant Thornton spokesperson said the firm will ‘continue to invest in new partners - both internal promotions and lateral hires’.

Grant Thornton CEO David Dunkley has previous admitted to a ‘tough year’ when reporting revenues down by 1.8% from £500m to £491m and profits falling by 8% to £71m. Average profit per partner was also down from £403,000 to £373,000. Dunkley took over as CEO in November 2018 following the resignation of Sasha Romanovitch after a damaging leak of confidential papers to the press.

In February the firm was ordered to pay a record of £21m in damages to former client AssetCo after a High Court judge branded its auditing of the company, which nearly collapsed as a result of an accounting scandal, to be a ‘flagrant breach of professional standards’, exhibiting failures ‘of the utmost gravity’.

The FRC also has an investigation in progress looking at Grant Thornton’s role as auditor of failed cake and coffee chain Patisserie Valerie.

The merger between top 10 firms BDO and Moore Stephens means Grant Thornton has also been pushed into sixth slot after the merged BDO in the Accountancy Daily Top 75 ranking.

Pat Sweet

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