EY Germany vows to improve working conditions in wake of Wirecard scandal
EY Germany has vowed to cut staff workloads and improve company working conditions, in response to its role in the multi-billion-euro Wirecard scandal.
The German arm of the Big Four accountancy firm said it plans to reduce workplace stress and the overburdening of its workers, by limiting overtime and hiring more people.
The pledge comes after the firm failed to spot a €1.9bn (£1.6bn) hole in Wirecard’s balance sheet, before the Bavarian payment processor collapsed in 2020.
A spokesperson for EY Germany said the move reflects the “learnings” the firm had “drawn from the Wirecard matter” as it said it would be “focusing on the ongoing development of our culture, our way of working and our training programs”.
“EY Germany – like all professional services firms – is a people business and the well-being of our people is incredibly important,” the spokesperson added.
The move comes as the firm has faced mounting pressure from politicians and regulators over its failures to verify the existence of Wirecard’s cash reserves, even after suspicions were raised against the firm by investors and journalists.
Last month, the German firm was also made subject of a major class action lawsuit, over claims it breached its duty to investors by helping Wirecard file false financial reports.
The pressure comes after an German parliamentary report into the scandal blamed EY’s failure to properly scrutinise Wirecard’s operations in Asia, despite “numerous fraud risk indicators”.
EY Germany’s failures followed a period of fast paced expansion with the German auditing firm, which saw the company double its market share in the three-year period running up to Wirecard’s collapse.