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Let’s See How the Big 4 Firms In India Are Faring During the COVID-19 Pandemic

[Updated with additional information.]

This GIF from Mad Men pretty much says it all, but things could be worse. To our knowledge, there haven’t been any pandemic-related layoffs … yet … at any of the Big 4 firms in India.

I kinda buried this in the article we posted last week on accountants’ layoff predictions during the coronavirus outbreak but the executive directors and partners at PwC India are taking a 25% pay cut and staff raises, bonuses, and promotions are being put on hold for now. But all PwCers will get their March salaries on time, according to published reports, so there’s that.

Here’s a little more about the cost-cutting measures PwC India is putting in place, according to a LinkedIn post by Chairman Shyamal Mukherjee:

Then some dude from BDO India laid into Mukherjee in the comment section of his post:

But then one of Mukherjee’s foot soldiers jumped in to defend him:

Could you imagine some senior manager from Grant Thornton jumping all over Tim Ryan for something he wrote on LinkedIn about how PwC is dealing with the pandemic, or being #PwCProud, or some other nonsense? That would never happen in the U.S.

Anyhoo, back to PwC India and one of the biggest problems they (and probably most accounting firms around the world) are facing right now. From Mint:

PwC India is also focusing on ensuring it is not forced to cut jobs as a majority of the companies are facing a cash crunch and may not be able to honour payments to consultancy and audit firms on time.

“The issue is not about just lack of business but mostly about companies who we are servicing or auditing not being in a position to honour payments on time. We want to ensure that no jobs are lost,” said a partner working with PwC India.

Meanwhile in D-town:

Deloitte India held two calls with its employees last week to ensure that there is clear communication and transparency from the management to the employees on how they are managing the crisis.

Some of the partners of Big4 have also been encouraged to reduce their draw from the partners’ pool (funds that need to be contributed by the partners as equity into the firm, which can be later withdrawn as part of their compensation), said a partner aware of the matter.

The Deloitte management also communicated to employees that increments will be recalibrated this year and promotions will be considered when there is a visibility of profits in the line of business, he said. “No new recruitments will be considered unless absolutely necessary. Individuals who have already been given offers to join will be honoured, but the date of joining will be pushed,” he said.

Well, it seems Deloitte must not be doing that bad because, according to an Economic Times article on April 1, the firm just promoted 30 directors to the partnership:

The promotions were across the five verticals — audit, tax, consulting, financial services and risk— but audit division saw the maximum number of partner induction (over 10).

“The firm is clearly taking a bet on the recovery of Indian economy so that when the demand for services arises post Covid-19 crisis, we are well positioned to get more business,” said a Deloitte partner on conditions of anonymity.

All the 30 partners that were promoted also saw a jump in their salary.

At EY, the firm nixed performance-based bonuses this year, according to Mint, just like its American cousin:

Promotions that are typically effective before the start of a new fiscal are being deferred to 1 June, said an employee.

We have no idea what’s going on at KPMG India. So if any of you KPMGers in India have the scoop, shoot us an email or a text using the contact info below.

Big-4 firms defer promotions, appraisals, bonuses and salaries amid virus crisis [Mint]
Deloitte India announces promotions, promotes 30 directors to partners [Economic Times]