“Baril says Deloitte has made about 18 acquisitions of firms since 2013, only five of which involved audit practices. The mergers with audit practices have taken place primarily in Toronto, Quebec City, Laval and Winnipeg.
He says several acquisitions were made to strengthen Deloitte’s ability to provide specialized services in non-accounting service areas, particularly cybersecurity, analytics, capital projects, specialized IT services, as well as some digital marketing.”
Deloitte – and the other BIG 4 firms have become professional services firms – instead of accounting firms. However the way develop expertise is through acquisition. Digital marketing, cyber security and specialized IT are NOT accounting services. The profession is re-shaping (our leadership calls it “reimagining”) itself not only to include these services but to demand graduates have experience in these areas in order to meet competency requirements. Effectively the profession has succumbed to pressure from BIG 4 firms who want to eliminate competition from smaller CPA firms for a shrinking pool of talent. That is the lifeblood of our industry and we cannot allow it
“One of the questions my students ask me when we go through all the types of non-traditional services that public accounting firms offer is ‘Why do they do those things when they have nothing to do with accounting?’” says Chung.
She tells them that “the need to grow our profession is really strong. We don’t want to be a profession that is just accounting and auditing and tax,” and also notes that part of the appeal of the larger firms for her students is they can offer more services and therefore more career opportunities.
Our profession has outsourced training to universities and then enlisted them as agents to help them win the talent war.
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