Three of the ‘Big Four’ major accounting firms on Sunday announced plans to pull out of Russia amid Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.
British-Dutch auditing and consultancy giant KPMG, which has over 4,500 partners and staff in Russia and Belarus, said its firm working in these two countries will be leaving the KPMG network.
“We believe we have a responsibility, along with other global businesses, to respond to the Russian government’s ongoing military attack on Ukraine. As a result, our Russia and Belarus firms will leave the KPMG network,” a KMPG International spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday.
He called the decision to end the firm’s relationship with Russian staff and partners “incredibly difficult.”
“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 organization 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,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, London-based PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also announced that PwC Russia will leave its network. The firm has operated in Russia since 1990s and has 3,700 partners and staff there.
“As a result of the Russian government's invasion of Ukraine we have decided that, under the circumstances, PwC should not have a member firm in Russia and consequently PwC Russia will leave the Network,” PwC said on Sunday, as cited by Reuters.
Later on Monday, Ernst & Young (EY) also announced it would be severing ties with Russia.
“In light of the escalating war, the EY global organisation will no longer serve any Russian government clients, state-owned enterprises or sanctioned entities and individuals anywhere in the world. EY has commenced a restructuring of its Russian member firm to separate it from the global network,” the company said in a statement.
All three companies are part of the “Big Four,” the nickname given to the globe’s biggest accounting firms by revenue. The remaining outfit, Deloitte, has not yet announced its plans regarding operations in Russia, but said on March 2 it was reviewing its operations in the country.
Russia's military operation in Ukraine, launched late last month, has resulted in international sanctions being placed on the Russian economy and prominent political and business figures. Many foreign companies have been announcing a halt or suspension of operations in Russia amid the sanctions, including credit card companies Visa and MasterCard, entertainment majors such as Netflix and tech giants including Microsoft, Apple and Dell. Several automakers, retailers and even clothing brands have also stopped operations on Russian soil.
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