BusinessCompany NewsBig Four shop overseas for Sarbox talent

Big Four shop overseas for Sarbox talent

Some of the UK's biggest accounting firms have begun heavily recruiting staff from abroad, particularly from eastern Europe, because demand is far outweighing supply for Sarbanes-Oxley expertise.

Link: Sarbanes-Oxley costs soaring

KPMG has one of the most established recruitment programmes. Recruitment director Keith Dugdale said that, since last year, the firm had been drafting in accountants from central and eastern Europe where educational standards and expertise is high.

The short and long-term assignments were about ‘leveraging a global network’, Dugdale said.

Glyn Barker, UK head of practice assurance at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said the firm ‘constantly has international secondment programmes’ in place to ensure it was able to cope with increased workloads in particular areas.

He said that Sarbanes-Oxley work was ‘really taking off’, and that, despite a global shortage of skills, PwC was coping with demand.

PwC is initially focusing on audit clients for compliance and Barker added: ‘Sarbox is as big as we expected it to be and there is huge demand. The work will almost certainly peak from the back end of this year through to the first six months of 2005.’

Ernst & Young and Deloitte were not available for comment.

One former accountant, now managing director of a consulting firm, said he had been in discussions with several CFOs of some ‘major companies’ and found that trained people were being ‘shipped in from abroad’ to cope with the shortfall.

He added that the hiring would need to continue as there was no sign of the firms’ workload easing.

‘The big challenge is that the audit season starts again in January, so if the Big Four are struggling now, then what is it going to be like next year, especially when IAS hits?’

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