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Grant Thornton partners vote to become shared enterprise

7th May 2015
Freelance journalist
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Grant Thornton is asking employees if they want to own the firm by becoming a John Lewis-type mutual organisation.

Last week, 99% of the the accounting firm's 185 partners supported a proposal to consult on changing the firm from traditional partner-run to become a shared enterprise.

Grant Thornton said allowing all of it's 4,500 UK workers to share in the firm's profits and have a say in how it's run would be a "more inclusive form of ownership, which will be attractive to its people and its clients".

Sacha Romanovitch, CEO-elect at Grant Thornton UK, said: “My ambition is for all of our people to have a stake in Grant Thornton becoming the go-to firm for growth.

"The only way we can fully harness the potential of all 4,500 of our people is through shared enterprise - a sense that we are all in this together sharing our thinking and ideas, sharing the responsibility to drive the business forward and sharing in the resulting rewards."

Businesses with shared ownership structures significantly outperform other businesses in sales and productivity, Romanovitch said.

Grant Thornton said it expects that the first part of its new structure will be ready by 1 July.

Phil Shohet, senior consultant at Foulger Underwood, who advises accounting firms how to run their practice, said he didn't know of any professional services firm that's owned by it's employees. He said it was a "brave move" that should help Grant Thonrton recruit staff but would require a "huge" change in its management culture.

"I think there's every chance it will succeed if they get the shape of the business right," he said. But, he added, other accounting firms would probably watch how Grant Thornton's new structure works before deciding whether to follow it's example.

Previous attempts to re-invent accounting practices as listed companies have largely failed.

In 2014, Grant Thornton increased it's revenue by nine per cent for the year to June. It plans to double its profitability by 2020.

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By Brend201
08th May 2015 13:00

Typos

Should be "its employees" and "its revenue".

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
08th May 2015 15:44

Good news

Brave indeed but the logical progression as we evolve (grow up) and move from slavery, to master/servant, to employer/employee to, hopefully, end up with co-operation.

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By mikefleming3028
08th May 2015 15:44

Sacha Romanovitch and her tax credo

Was featured on the front page of ICAEW Economia and no mention made of GT becoming a "Shared Enterprise", there was however a question and answer session at the end of the interview the last one being as follows:-

Q "How difficult is it for you in the current climate to help your clients minimise their tax bills?  

A "Our job is to help them at it as a sensible cost of business, paying a fair amount,but not to much"

Its an interesting concept paying a fair amount of tax, one is left wondering how on earth does Grant Thornton decide what`s fair and what isn't? If GT could share the formula, if there is one, then we could all adopt this new concept when completing our clients future returns both personal and corporate.I am sure HMRC may have something to say on the subject, enter stage right Mr Gauke.     

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