Profile – John Nisbet, Coopers & Lybrand

Heady anticipation of Inland Revenue changes, combined with the liberation of Revenue staff due to self-assessment, has brought John Nisbet to Coopers & Lybrand. The new UK head of investigation services, Nisbet will lead the forensic accounting team in ‘combating all forms of Inland Revenue and Customs investigations – from district settlements to the largest fraud investigations.’

The 48-year-old Scotsman left school and went directly into the Revenue to train as an inspector of taxes. Speedy promotion to the then Enquiry Branch (now Special Compliance Office) attracted head-hunters from Robson Rhodes, which Nisbet joined in 1987. ‘I was naturally attracted to the forensic side of accounting given my experience in fraud matters and my enjoyment of that work,’ he says. Seven years at KPMG directly preceded his appointment at Coopers and earned him a reputation as one of the leading professionals defending firms whose standards and ethics are under scrutiny by the Revenue.

‘There have been fascinating projects over the years but perhaps the most interesting was acting for several Premier League football clubs, individual players and managers in the face of the recent Revenue investigation project.’

At Coopers, Nisbet aims to develop a national investigations practice working at the ‘sharp end’ of the investigative market. He explains: ‘With the new Revenue initiatives there are exciting opportunities to become involved in projects aimed at the large corporate market. We’ll see a far more aggressive approach from the Revenue – both in fraud or evasion investigations and enquiries about tax computations. I believe I have a leading part to play in ensuring Coopers & Lybrand clients have the best possible service.’

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