Big Four Should Offer Young Recruits More Money, Regulator Says

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Kids these days, with their skateboards, TikTok, and aversion to becoming an accountant.

In an interview with the Financial Times the UK’s top accountancy regulator Sir Jan du Plessis, head of the Financial Reporting Council, said the Big Four accounting firms — that’s Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC — should beef up their starting salaries to recruit more young auditors.

Negative Feedback

The accountancy field is experiencing a drain in the US, and the UK seems to be struggling with a similar problem. In 2021, the UK chair of PwC said the sector was struggling to recruit younger auditors and laid the blame on “external negativity” coming from politicians and regulators. That “negativity” hasn’t abated in the intervening years: UK accountancy firms were hit with a record £46.5 million in fines last year and in March of this year PwC was fined £7.5 million over its audit of engineering firm Babcock.

Du Plessis told the FT that if the Big Four want to add some spit polish to their reputation with young potential recruits, they just need to reach into their pockets:

  • “There has been a significant increase in profitability at all the audit firms,” Du Plessis said, adding: “They have the resources available to increase the pay levels of more junior people that they want to attract into their firms and it’s up to them whether they want to do so.”
  • Although he defended naming auditors whose work has come under suspicion, he said the regulator will go easier on junior auditors in the future, so at least younglings don’t have to worry about public shamings.

Not Just The Kids: There’ll be one very big job opening at EY, if any fresh-faced graduates fancy it. CEO Carmine Di Sibio announced on Tuesday he plans to retire in June next year. This comes after Di Sibio tried and ultimately failed to break up the company by spinning out EY’s consulting business.