KPMG increasingly comes under spotlight after high-profile scandals see share of UK public sector contracts fall sharply

KPMG is a professional service company and one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The name "KPMG" stands for "Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler," a name adopted when KMG (Klynveld Main Goerdeler) merged with Peat Marwick in 1987. The headquarters are in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. KPMG is involved in financial audit, tax, and advisory services. KPMG has a operations in a number of the Celtic nations.

KPMG has not been free from controversy over a number of years. Most recently, in 2015, KPMG was accused by the Canada Revenue Agency of tax evasion schemes: "The CRA alleges that the KPMG tax structure was in reality a 'sham' that intended to deceive the taxman." In 2016, the Canada Revenue Agency was found to have offered an amnesty to KPMG clients caught using an offshore tax-avoidance scheme on the Isle of Man.

More recent issues include the 2017 corruption scandal involving its South Africa arm and KPMG related scandals involving the Gupta family, related to the mining sector, Oakbay Resources and Energy. Then came the collapse of UK construction firm and government contractor  Carillion, which KPMG has audited since 1999. Its audit of Carillion is under investigation by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which is the UK accounting watchdog. Two out of three former Carillion finance directors had also worked for KPMG.  FRC are also examining KPMG's audit of Rolls-Royce’s accounts. This comes after the enginering company admitted to several corruption offences. Recently US regulators also moved to charge three former KPMG partners with fraud.

The value of new UK public sector contracts awarded to KPMG has dropped by almost 80 per cent since 2015 according to figures from Tussell, a research firm that compiles data on public procurement whose findings were reported in the Financial Times. All of this comes amid this series of high-profile scandals and KPMG’s recent reputational problems are seen to be a contributory factor in the drop in public sector work. What many see as the decline in professional values at KPMG is placing the organisation increasingly under the spotlight.

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