Friday, August 06, 2010

Big Four Accountants: Where 4 Art Thou?

From Tax Research:

This paper considers the role of the Big 4 firms of accountants - PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Deloitte, Ernst & Young (E&Y) and KPMG – in the creation of the offshore secrecy space.

Part 1 shows that secrecy jurisdictions deliberately create opacity in financial data, and multinationals exploit this to create opacity in their financial reporting.

Part 2 develops the concept of the ‘secrecy space’ which combines the opacity of secrecy jurisdictions with the opacity found inside group consolidated accounts of multinational corporations.

In Part 3 the role of the Big 4 firms of accountants in this process is questioned.

It concludes that over many years a tangled and connected web has developed linking the opacity of secrecy jurisdictions, transfer mispricing and other commercial tax abuse by multinationals, the existence of the Big 4 as auditors of those corporations.

A useful addition to the literature.

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