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Accountability is priority for global advisory cos
October, 19th 2009

Even as regulators actively explore options to make accounting and corporate governance norms tighter, global accounting and advisory majors with large clients in India have started tweaking their organisation structures to increase accountability and are also bringing in global heads to oversee their India functions.

While three of the Big Four firmsDeloitte, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Younghave in the recent past somewhat modified their structures, the move by KPMG to bring in senior executives from overseas networks to take over select India functions brings the accountability issue into sharper focus and also underscores the importance of India as a major market for such firms.

KPMGs UK-based partner Sanjay Thakkar has been brought in to head the firms transaction services in India, while Kumar Parakala, global head of sourcing and based in Australia, will be moving to Bangalore to take charge of IT Advisory Services.

Both the appointments were made very recently and the two executives will be relocating soon to take charge here, KPMG India chief operating officer Richard Rekhy told ET. This is part of our exercise to add new service lines and to bring in global heads so that the firms services are more aligned to market needs, he added.

Transaction services is very vital for advisory firms such as KPMG as it includes the division that guides clients on deals and is also one of the profit heads that brings in businesses.

IT advisory is a fast growing area with increased focus as accounting systems and fraud controls are typically regulated through this arm.

The move by KPMG assumes importance as its list of clients includes some of the big names in banking and financial services, telecom and manufacturing sectors.

Soon after the Satyam fraud, auditing firm Price Waterhouse, which is a part of the PriceWaterhouseCoopers network, said auditors from its global network would review its India audit work as part of PwCs efforts to bring in more accountability. The firm had also set up an independent advisory board to provide external guidance for better audit quality.

Mr Rekhy said that with companies looking at solutions-based consultancy work, KPMGs advisory service offering has been realigned and where there were 9 service lines, the new structure has created 3 broad service groupings. The three new service groupings include performance and technology, a high potential offering that will be led Mr Rekhy, transaction and restructuring led by Vikram Utamsingh and risk and compliance to be spearheaded by Deepankar Sanwalka.

Incidentally, Mr Sanwalka is also heading the team that is currently restating the accounts of Satyam Computer Services. Apart from this, KPMG has also formed three new service lines such as sustainability (to be looked after by Arvind Mahajan), aid and development (Ajay Sud) and financial risk management (Ravi Trivedy).

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