Deloitte last of the Big Four to exit Russia and Belarusby
All of the Big Four accountancy firms have announced their intention to exit operations in Russia and Belarus.
Deloitte is the final Big Four firm to pull out of Russia and Belarus. The firm has now joined the ranks of Big Four firms EY, PwC and KPMG in announcing their decision to exit operations in Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.
PwC was the first to announce its decision on Sunday night, followed by KPMG, after pressure mounted on the Big Four firms last week.
The severing of ties with Russian Big Four member firms follows consultancy firm Accenture’s decision to discontinue its 2,300-person Russian business on Friday, while mid-tier accountancy firm Grant Thornton split from its Russian affiliate on 1 March.
Deloitte confirmed in a statement that after reviewing its business in Russia the Big Four firm has decided to separate its practice in Russia and Belarus from the global network of member firms and it will no longer operate in those countries.
“While we know this is the right decision, it will have an impact on Deloitte’s approximately 3,000 professionals located in Russia and Belarus. Like others, we know our colleagues in Russia and Belarus have no voice in the actions of their government. We will support all impacted colleagues during this transition and do all we can to assist them during this extremely difficult time,” said Deloitte global CEO Punit Renjen.
“We will continue to prioritise the needs of our people and clients while we bring the full strength of Deloitte’s global resources to bear in addressing the mounting humanitarian needs in Ukraine and across Europe.”
EY severs ties
Deloitte’s announcement follows a similar stance taken by EY this morning (7 March).
EY said it was restructuring its Russian member firm to separate it from the global network and that it will no longer serve any Russian government clients, state-owned enterprises or sanctioned entities and individuals anywhere in the world.
In a statement EY added: “This is not something we take lightly. This is heartbreaking as we have over 4,700 colleagues in Russia, who have been a part of our global network for over 30 years and worked side by side with our global, Eastern European and Ukrainian colleagues. As we go through this change, we will work to support those colleagues, as well as our clients in fulfilling our legal obligations and commitments.”
PwC exited first
On Sunday night PwC announced its decision to cut off from Russia. In a social media statement, global chairman Robert Moritz said: “Last week we set out our position deploring the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then we have also been thinking about how we can take action in the way we run our network.
“We have decided that, under the circumstances, PwC should not have a member firm in Russia and consequently PwC Russia will leave the network.”
He added that the firm would work with PwC Russia, where it has 3,700 partners and staff, “to undertake an orderly transition for the business”.
KPMG was next to leave
Hours later, KPMG global chair Bill Thomas said his firm would do the same. KPMG has 4,500 people across Russia and Belarus and those firms will now leave the network.
He said: “This decision is not about them – it is a consequence of the actions of the Russian government.
“We are a purpose-led and values-driven organisation that believes in doing the right thing. We will seek to do all we can to ensure we provide transitional support for former colleagues impacted by this decision.”
KPMG UK chief executive Jonathan Holt added: “We are appalled by the Russian government’s unprovoked military invasion, in violation of international law, and the war it is waging on the people of Ukraine.
“We believe we have a responsibility, along with other global businesses, to respond to the Russian government’s ongoing military attack on Ukraine.”
Last week KPMG said it was reviewing client work and operations to align with sanctions and comply with all new laws. Holt said that review is now complete and it will terminate the “small number” of contracts that are related to individuals or entities controlled by the Russian state or connected with the Russian regime.