Elf hands PwC #10m contract

Fifty accounts payable and receivable staff at Elf Oil UK’s headquarters in Wembley, London, became employees of PricewaterhouseCoopers last week, under a #10m, seven-year outsourcing contract, writes John Stokdyk.

Elf Oil, which operates 500 petrol stations in the UK, worked with Price Waterhouse’s management consultancy over the past 18 months to install an accounts system.

Elf Exploration has outsourced upstream processing activities based in Aberdeen to Andersen Consulting. Consulting was asked to bid but the retail wing chose PwC instead for its latest contract.

Elf finance director Ian Porteus said transferring accounting staff and their immediate supervisors to PwC would reduce costs and improve service consistency. Around ten management accountants, credit controllers and internal auditors will remain with Elf.

Elf confirmed that any cost savings would be shared between client and supplier.

Claude Hartridge, PwC’s business process development manager, said the firm ‘offered a solution that kept as many of its trained resources in place and offered opportunities for career growth’. In addition, he said, the arrangement aimed to reduce staff turnover.

Elf follows BP and Mobil in turning to PwC for outsourced accountancy services. Hartridge said major oil companies were used to working in joint ventures and ‘were more willing to share in something for mutual gains’.

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