Wednesday 20 November 2019 1:36 pm

KPMG slashes headcount in transformation unit amid cost cutting drive

KPMG is making redundancies in its in-house project management team as part of a campaign to slash millions of pounds in costs.

KPMG told more than half of the staff in its transformation centre of expertise (TCE) this week that their jobs were at risk of redundancy, Sky News reported.

The unit works across KPMG on projects including the transfer of hundreds of people from its consulting arm into its audit practice as part of a major restructuring.

Read more: John McDonnell says Labour will break up Big Four ‘cartel’

The transformation team is 37-strong and is expected to shrink to 20 following the redundancy process.

The cuts comes in the context of a £100m cost cutting drive called Project Zebra.

Cost-cutting measures include recalling hundreds of corporate mobile phones and slashing the number of its personal assistants up about a third.

The firm has also invested heavily in its audit practice after involvement in scandals such as the collapse of outsourcer Carillion and scathing quality assessments from the audit watchdog.

Read more: KPMG launches £100m cost-cutting programme

A KPMG spokesperson said:  “We are transforming our UK business. As part of this work, we are reviewing the role of our transformation centre of excellence.

“The proposed changes will see our in house team work increasingly closely with our client-facing experts on delivery of in-house transformation projects, pooling their expertise and best in class project management tools to the benefit of our clients and our own business. We are now in the process of consulting with affected staff on the plans.”

The Big Four could face a strict crackdown from the Labour party if it wins next month’s General Election.

Yesterday John McDonnell vowed to break up the “cartel” of the Big Four accounting firms if Labour take power.

“Under Labour the Big Four companies will not be allowed to continue to act like a cartel,” McDonnell told a Westminster audience during a speech on Labour’s plans for the economy. 

If the Conservative Party wins the election it is also expected to bring forward reforms to the audit market, but it is unlikely to go as far as Labour.