PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world's largest accountancy, yesterday stepped up a campaign to demonstrate ethical credentials with a financial review emphasising “the quality and integrity” of its staff.
In a clear attempt to counter criticism that auditing standards remain compromised by consultancy work for the same client, the firm said that over the past year it spent £13m on staff checks against a set of global performance standards.
PwC, with 125,000 employees worldwide, reported flat revenues of $13.8bn (£8.8bn) for the year to June 30, up 1% on the previous year. Declines of 4% in the North American market and 2% in South America wiped out gains of 6% in Europe and 5% in the Asia-Pacific region.
Samuel DiPiazza, the chief executive, blamed the September 11 attacks and financial scandals in the US for revenue falls.
PwC became embroiled when it was sacked by Allied Irish Banks in the US after an employee was charged with fraud.
Mr DiPiazza said PwC had sold IT, human resources, insolvency and corporate value consultancies to rid itself of potential conflicts of interest. Tax and accounting advice were core business that auditors should be allowed to bid for.
The UK business will become a limited liability partnership in January 2003 and publish plc-style results later in the year.