PracticeAccounting FirmsPressure on Big Four to halt Iraq plans

Pressure on Big Four to halt Iraq plans

Pressure is mounting on the Big Four accountancy firms to halt their plans to re-enter Iraq, following the recent spate of kidnappings and violence in the region.

Link: KPMG goes on Iraq recruitment drive

Last week saw some of the worst violence experienced since the end of the war, and the tactic of kidnapping non-military western targets for political aims will be of huge concern to businesses operating in the country.

KPMG last month advertised a number of positions in Baghdad, describing the need for accountants with an ‘adventurous streak’. A spokesman said this week that the firm was ‘aware of the fast-changing situation’, and that it was the firm’s policy to recruit Iraq nationals.

Last week, the UK Foreign Office added a further line to its advice to citizens travelling to Iraq. It now says that ‘even the most essential travel to Iraq should be delayed, if possible’.

‘At the end of the day, it’s down to the individual person and organisation to consider whether its need to be there is essential,’ a spokeswoman said.

Both France and Germany have issued formal warnings to citizens to leave the area and Russia’s largest contractor in the area, Tekhpromexport, has pulled its 370 staff out in reaction to the kidnappings.

Ernst & Young announced in February the re-opening of its Baghdad office, and won a contract with the Coalition Provisional Authority in March to help trace the country’s loan contracts. The firm was unable to comment on the current situation due to security reasons.

A spokeswoman for Deloitte reiterated its determination to set up an office in Iraq, but could not put a date on any move. ‘We are intending to re-enter Iraq and are monitoring the position closely,’ she said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said it was reviewing the situation, although ‘no decision had been made yet’.

For more on this and other breaking news stories, see www.accountancyage.com.

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