KPMG has been reprimanded and fined #1,500 by the English ICA for sending out congratulatory letters to part-qualified accountancy students a week before they were due to receive their final exam results.
Many of the students, who were training at rival firms when subjected to the mailshot in August last year, failed to qualify. KPMG, which ran the recruitment campaign with the help of recruitment consultancy Michael Page, was condemned for its ‘unethical approach’.
The institute, fearing a leak of the results, launched a full-scale inquiry which concluded with the disciplinary action.
The source of KPMG’s list has never been confirmed, but insiders blamed a market research company for the incorrect information.
In the institute consent order, KPMG – which was also ordered to pay #1,500 costs – agreed it failed to pay ‘adequate attention to the intended recipients and to the contents of the letter in the light of institute guidance’. As a result, KPMG ‘discredited’ itself, the institute and the profession.
The letter debacle forced KPMG, which was trying to attract new staff for its financial-sector group, to apologise to the institute and blamed a ‘timing error’. Rivals said the firm’s action was a response to the cut-throat newly-qualified recruitment market.
KPMG refused to comment.
Andrew Tyrie airs views on the Finance Bill, 'Making Tax Policy Better' report, and Brexit
In our latest managing partner Q&A looking towards 2017, CVR Global's Richard Toone talks about recruitment, and the potential threat of competition from the legal sector, as key issues for the firm in the coming year
Deloitte to avoid tendering for government contracts over the next six months, to appease Theresa May following consultant's report that painted a less-than-flattering picture of Brexit plans
In our first Q&A looking towards 2017, Menzies senior partner Julie Adams flags up increasing digitisation, aligned with more hands-on consultative services, as the key mix for her practice