Business – Shell and E&Y create Tasco

Ernst & Young’s attempt to break into the lucrative outsourcing market for accounting services in a joint venture with oil giant Shell moved a step closer last week, after it picked a location in Scotland for its centre of operations.

E&Y said the 50/50 joint venture, Tasco Europe, would offer a bureau service to pan-European companies that wanted to increase the efficiency of their transaction processing.

The Glasgow-based operation will be run by a mix of Shell and E&Y executives.

The chief executive will be E&Y partner Jacky Ross, currently head of finance and administration re-engineering, while Shell will select the chairman.

Industry analysts said E&Y, which holds a dominant position for audit work in the oil and gas industry, had been stung into action by the success of rival firm Andersen Consulting. Andersens is only a small player in the audit field in the industry, but its consulting arm has outsourced a series of finance departments at major oil companies in Europe, including BP Exploration and Conoco.

E&Y announced its intention to set up the operation in September. A spokesman said the last four months had been spent searching for an appropriate location and subsequent negotiations with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Office Inward Investment, which are supporting the development.

Tasco said its formation marked the first time a blue-chip corporation had joined forces with a major consultancy firm, to tap into the potential $1bn market.

Shell will be the first customer, but it is not yet known exactly how many of the oil company’s subsidiaries will take up the offer.

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