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Formerly Prestigious Firm Fires 327 People and Three Dozen Partners After Genius Money-Making Scheme Backfires

a PwC building in Australia, layoffs, job cuts

*Technically the partners are being forced to retire but the headline was already way too many characters

It’s been more than a year since Australian Financial Review blew the PwC Australia tax scandal wide open and it’s been nothing but migraines for PwC leadership (and their cousins at other Big 4 firms also subject to relentless grilling by Aussie senators) since. Unfortunately the pain isn’t limited to the handful of partners who conspired to generate billable hours from confidential government tax information but for staff, too. Perhaps it’s a small blessing to get culled from the current shit show, this thing ain’t going away.

AFR reports on the latest round of “cost-cutting” at PwC:

Embattled professional services firm PwC Australia will swing the axe in a second round of major job cuts in as many years, with 329 staff and up to 37 partners to be forced out.

The job cuts represent about 5 per cent of the firm’s 7000-strong staff and are being done as part of a broader restructure aimed at cutting $100 million in ongoing costs amid a slow consulting market. The partner cuts also represent about 5 per cent of the more than 750 partners at the firm.

Partners were briefed on the closely-held plans, known internally as Project Maple, in a partner webcast held at 5pm on Tuesday. Staff were informed on Wednesday.

As part of the restructure back office and other support functions that have been split between the firm’s three divisions – consulting, assurance and financial advisory – will be centralised. The aim is to create more oversight of the firm’s operations and simplify the business.

Many of the 329 staff are redundant back office folks and those in consulting though losses will be spread to other service lines as well. On top of that, up to 37 partners will be forced into early retirement between now and the end of the year.

New partner promotions are back on the menu this year after the firm skipped last year because of that whole messy tax scandal thing.

PwC Australia already cut four percent of the workforce in November. They also sold off the poisoned government consulting business tied to the scandal for a buck in June. Do Australians call a dollar a buck? Probably not. Oh look at that, they do. Anyway, that works out to .66 cents (.67 at the time) in our measure of debts public and private. That transaction was supposed to save the 1,500 jobs tied to that practice however 78 of them ended up being lost at completion of the sale.

Our condolences to anyone caught up in this latest round of cuts. We promise there are better days ahead. Well, maybe not for PwC leadership any time soon.

One thought on “Formerly Prestigious Firm Fires 327 People and Three Dozen Partners After Genius Money-Making Scheme Backfires

  1. ” … maybe not for PwC leadership.” Oh, I expect the people at the top will be just fine, funny how they always do so. It’s everyone else that has to suffer.

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