PracticeAccounting FirmsDeloitte branches out

Deloitte branches out

With the launch of a new service this week to offer venture capitalists a fundraising service, Deloitte & Touche became the first Big Four firm to expand its operations into the private equity fund managers market.

But more significant than that is the confidence signal the move sends to accountancy and UK plc.

In one notable respect, this year’s Accountancy Age Top 50 table masked the reality. By looking at the average growth rate of firms’ corporate finance arms, it showed the service line grew by more than 6% last year.

But does anyone know many corporate financiers who are crowing about recent successes? The overall 6% growth figure concealed falls of 7% at KPMG, 10% at Grant Thornton and 36% at Tenon.

So how did Ernst & Young manage to quote growth of 11% in its corporate finance division? By including insolvency fees under that service heading, that’s how. Some of the other firms recording growth did so as a result of mergers, others grew their corporate finance offerings from very low bases.

Nevertheless, Deloitte says it is convinced that demand for investing in private equity will recover sharply as the economy picks up and the initial public offering market stirs into life. We should all hope the firm is right. It’s in everyone’s interest that Deloitte’s move is successful, though rivals might not agree. Crackdown on spam We all have a little more time on our hands in the summer, yet it doesn’t always feel like it, thanks to spammers. In June, one in three FDs we spoke to told us their performance at work had suffered as a result of increases in junk mail. Since then, the tide has not turned (spam accounts for nearly 40% of global emails) and spammers have only become more sophisticated. ‘Counterfeit characters’ is just one new trick. Replacing standard characters with numbers or accented characters to fool spam filters, messages are sent like ‘V1agra’ and ‘M0RTG4GE’. The DTI is considering proposals that would allow consumers and businesses to sue senders of unsolicited emails and text messages. The powers form part of plans to crack down on unsolicited electronic communications under the European Privacy and Electronic Commun-ications Directive, which comes into force on 31 October. However, apart from exceptional circumstances, fines are likely to be in the region of up to £5,000. Whether that is enough of a deterrent remains to be seen. Email comment@accountancyage.com.

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