Grant Thornton to lay off up to 60 staff after poor 2018

20 March 2019

One of the UK’s largest auditing and advisory firms has announced plans to make more than 50 staff redundant as part of a restructuring operation. The redundancies in the British wing of Grant Thornton follow a troubled year at the firm, which saw it implicated in a major accounting scandal, while discontent among its Partner team forced out its CEO.

2018 was a difficult year for Grant Thornton UK. Having overhauled the firm’s partnership structure to make it a John Lewis-style profit-sharing scheme for all staff rather than just Partners, CEO Sacha Romanovitch was ousted from her role at the head of the company by a group of anonymous Partners and Directors at the firm, infuriated by what they saw as her of pursuit of a “socialist agenda.”

Following that, the tenure of new CEO David Dunckley got off to a rocky start, as it coincided with the emergence of a multi-million black hole at the heart of a client’s accounts. Patisserie Valerie has since collapsed, while months later, Grant Thornton forfeited its position as the UK’s fifth largest professional services firm, with the news that BDO and Moore Stephens were poised to clinch a merger deal in the near future. The deal between the duo will create an entity with a gross annual revenue of approximately £600 million.

Grant Thornton to lay off up to 60 staff after poor 2018

On the back of that performance, Grant Thornton UK has announced that the financial year saw revenue fall by 1.8% from £500 million to £491 million, while profits tumbled by 8% to £71 million. As a result, the average profit per Partner also shrank from £403,000 to £373,000. According to a release accompanying the results, the “disappointing” performance was the result of one-off portfolio disposals and contract terminations, including Grant Thornton’s £2.1 million loss on Geniac, a platform it invested in to support back office functions for small businesses.

Following its poor performance in 2018, Grant Thornton UK is now planning to make 50 to 60 staff redundant as part of a continuing restructuring effort for its operations. This will largely see roles in brand, marketing and communications and in people and client experience functions downsized, for which the firm is consulting staff on until 10 April.

According to a spokesperson for Grant Thornton, “The next phase of this transformation is to ensure our teams provide the right level of support for profitable growth and create an environment that makes it easier for our people to do great work. Sadly, this will result in a reduction of a number of roles in these functions and the firm has begun a consultation period with those who are impacted. This is not a decision we take lightly and it has not been easy, but transformation is essential to ensure we build a long-term, sustainable future for the whole firm.”

While it looks to get its house in order, however, 2019 has seen a number of new headaches emerge for Grant Thornton. In February, the firm was ordered to pay former audit client AssetCo £5 million in legal costs and £21 million in damages for negligence involving the company’s 2009 and 2010 audits. Meanwhile, one of its larger audit clients, Interserve, fell into administration in March, as shareholders refused a rescue deal for the beleaguered outsourcer.

Grant Thornton also faces mounting criticism concerning its auditing of Sports Direct. The firm was expected to step aside, pending an investigation from the UK’s competition watchdog; but with the Big Four unwilling to step in at the controversial retailer, Grant Thornton presently remains in its role despite facing an FRC probe on the matter.


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Two consultancies among UK’s best office breakout spaces

05 April 2019

A pair of Bristol-based consulting firms have been recognized for having among the UK’s best office break areas. People Source Consulting and Ashville were marked out for their vibrant and fun spaces, which feature table games, picnic areas, and even beer.

With competition for talent in the UK continuing to heat up – as the nation continues to enjoy its highest employment rate since the 1970s – firms have been upping their game on multiple fronts to help attract the cream of the crop. In order to successfully court the best candidates, companies are not only taking into account pay and benefits, but are also working to lure potential employees to their firms with the promise of innovative and vibrant work spaces.

In late 2018, employment website Glassdoor announced ten offices had been named the coolest places to work in the UK. Among those lauded for their work in enriching the working day of their employees was Capco – the only consultancy to make the grade.

Two consultancies among UK’s best office breakout spaces

Now,, a leading games room specialist based in the UK, has announced the ten offices it believes have made the cut for its inaugural Office Breakout of the Year competition. The contest has pitted a diverse range of companies against one another to be named the best office-based breakout space that the UK has to offer. Research from recently revealed that 65% of workers would consider switching employers for a better working environment, making the appearance of two consultancies on the list especially important for their recruitment ambitions.

People Source Consulting – a recruitment business from Bristol – hosts a brightly lit and vibrant space, complete with faux grass and picnic benches, along with a well-stocked beverage fridge – alcohol appears to be an option – as well as an array of tabletop games, including pool. Ashville, an asset management consultancy also based in Bristol, meanwhile boasts a break room decked out with table football, a table tennis court and even arcade machines.

Two consultancies among UK’s best office breakout spaces

The other eight finalists exhibit offerings including swinging hammocks, scooters and a bizarre and brilliant variety of other features. The other nominees are accessplanit – a software business from Lancaster; Digital 22 – a marketing and design agency from Clitheroe; Roc Search – a tech and engineering recruitment specialist from Reading; Sales-i – a provider of sales analytics software from Solihull; SEC Group – an office fit out company from Stevenage; SLG Brands – a portfolio of beauty brands with a head office in Cheltenham; Zest Digital – a digital marketing agency from Oxford; and 16i – a digital design agency also from Cheltenham.

Andy Beresford, MD of, said, “According to recent reports, the UK is currently seeing record levels of employment, and while that might be a great statistic, the knock-on effect is that it’s becoming harder and harder to recruit top talent… Being named as a finalist gives those shortlisted businesses the opportunity to showcase how they go about delivering a better working environment for their employees, with some top effort evidently involved judging by what we’ve seen.”