Forensic five quit PwC over conflict of interest problems

The five left PwC due to increased frustration at the firm for having to turn down contracts. ‘The catalyst for the breakaway firm has been the increasing inability of Big Five firms to accept forensic accounting assignments due to conflicts of interest and price constraints,’ according to Forensic Accounting Ltd.

Professional services firms are increasingly watchful of the ensuing ramifications of conducting multiple services for a company in the wake of the intervention of the US Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year driving Big Five firms to split audit and consultancy arms.

Andrew Mainz, chairman of Forensic Accounting and ex-PwC employee, said: ‘We are setting up a firm which can offer the same expertise as a Big Five firm without the conflict issues and at competitive rates.’

A PwC spokeswoman said there were was room for both Big Five and small practices in the forensic accounting area. She added that PwC would continue to expand its forensic accounting practice, and wished the firm’s former employees every success in their new venture.

Nick Andrews, of KPMG’s forensic accounting department, said: ‘There may be cases where firms have to turn down work because of a conflict. Firms have very strict rules when taking on assignments so as to avoid the possibility of clashes. In a firm like [Forensic Accounting Ltd] it would not encounter such conflicts.’

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