PracticeAccounting FirmsFine line to tread?

Fine line to tread?

This whole business of what Ernst & Young consults on, and what it doesn’t, can sometimes be a little confusing.

Outgoing chairman Nick Land recently told Accountancy Age, quite
emphatically, his firm had not returned to consulting after selling its business
to Capgemini some six years ago. Trouble is, the firm’s advisory arm, set up
last year, could look for all the world like a consulting business. From a
distance.

Up close things take on a different complexion. E&Y, Land said, would not
run a shared service centre for a client. But it might help the client decide
whether it needed one.

Firms like E&Y, therefore, have to make sure they don’t in anyway suggest
who should be the provider. This must be a tricky line to tread, and must mean
every comment is carefully monitored for bias, cleansed of suggestion and
filtered for implication.

Of course, the other option is to simply keep the consulting business and
make sure that you don’t audit the clients too.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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