Slow-down costs Big Five jobs

The economic slowdown is beginning to impact on accountancy firms in the UK. Last month, Price-waterhouseCoopers asked 280 (7%) of its management consulting staff to take voluntary redundancy. And Deloitte & Touche said it had cut nine managerial positions in its corporate finance practice.

PwC said that the cuts - which do not affect partners - were necessary because of the slowdown in technology markets and the continuing poor outlook. It was hoping that the 'more generous redundancy package than is normal' would mean it would not have to make compulsory redundancies.

'We have had to review our skills mix, and at this time we have more people in certain areas than our business requires,' explained PwC HR partner Liz Brown.

D&T's redundancies were made in the last quarter. It said that 'changing business environments and client needs' had made the job cuts in the 300-strong practice necessary, but added that it had made 12 new managerial appointments in the practice's business modelling and post-merger corporate finance advisory group.

Other firms have not yet made staff redundant, but they agreed that there is no room for complacency. 'No business is as busy across the board as it was last year,' one firm warned.

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