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Payroll blunder: KPMG's misfortunes come in threes
If HMRC didn’t have such a knack for mishaps, KPMG’s embarrassment might be more acute after it was revealed that the Big Four firm failed to pay its staff as expected on Friday 27 April.
KPMG staffers are usually paid on the 29th of each month, and if that date falls on a weekend, they get their pay on the Friday before. But Payroll World reported that the firm apologised to 11,000 UK staff on Friday morning after this didn’t happen.
“We hold our hands up over this, it was caused by a human error within KPMG,” she said.
This isn’t the first time KPMG’s unique approach to HR has hit the headlines this year.
In February, final year trainees were left fuming when they discovered that they would not be getting £1,000 bonuses that were traditionally given to those who passed their exams first time.
A couple of weeks later, news of potential redundancies leaked when senior partner Julian Thomas circulated details of the cutback programme to 500 management consultants by inviting them to dial into a pre-recorded voicemail message.
“The corporate business is facing a challenging market… [we are] 51% down on bottom line profitability compared with this time last year,” said Thomas, who according to GoingConcern.com received a bonus of £683,000 in January.
Apart from taking a good, long look at its internal processes and communication strategies, KPMG will also be crossing its managerial fingers that misfortunes really do come in threes. Within accountancy, insensitivity and penny-pinching might not be seen as impediments, but failing to make payroll is a cardinal sin that hints at a worrying degree of professional incompetence.
Many years ago in a different context, KPMG’s affable chairman John Griffith-Jones admitted to me that accountants sometimes don’t always apply the same discipline within their own firms that they urge on clients.
Over the weekend, he may have started to revise that view.