Big Five consultancies rally at a time of need for Australia

13 January 2020 Consultancy.com.au

From EY’s indefinite leave for reservists contributing to bushfire rescue missions, to substantial monetary contributions from Accenture, PwC, Deloitte, and the cancellation of a flagship event from KPMG – the Big Five consulting firms are rallying around as Australia faces a monumental crisis.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) reports that EY has offered indefinite paid leave to one of its employees, Ayrton Costanzo, who is one of 3,000 military reservists who have been called upon to help out with bushfire rescue. Costanzo has been using his time to deliver bottled water and rations to remote areas.

The offer for paid leave stands for other reservists and employees as well, said EY Oceania Chief Executive and Managing Partner Tony Johnson. Talking to AFR, he highlighted that paid leave was being extended to any of the staff that needed to help out friends and families caught up in the devastation.

The bushfires have brought about a significant death toll and widespread damage to homes and livelihoods. The economic cost has also been tremendous, with some estimating that the fires are inflicting as much as $50 million worth of damage each day. Monetary contributions have been flowing in to help ease the rescue and restoration efforts.

Big Five rally at a time of need for Australia

Big Four accounting and advisory firm PwC, for instance, has made a $500,000 donation to the Red Cross, on top of simultaneously offering related services on a pro bono basis to four state governments. The accounting and consulting firm is meanwhile also providing support and expertise to the National Bushfire Recovery Agency.

Number two in size, Deloitte, kick started an appeal to raise funds for the recovery process, an initiative that returned $200,000 within the first 48 hours of launching. A spokesperson from Deloitte provided insight into the situation and where the money was being allocated.

“This funding will be directed as cash assistance to affected communities, wildlife rescue groups, and emergency services organisations. Recovering from this disaster is going to take years and we know that this has to just be an initial donation with much more support being required from businesses like ours as the approach to recovery and areas of need become clearer,” he said.

Similarly to PwC, the firm is also getting in close on the action. “We are doing some work with the NSW Rural Fire Service to support procurement, onboarding additional volunteers and handling incoming donations, but much more is planned,” the spokesperson added.

KPMG has made an undisclosed contribution to the Red Cross, while further offering unlimited paid leave for those involved with the emergency services. The firm in addition canceled its flagship event – the Couta Boat Classic – “out of respect for the bushfire-affected communities.

Accenture, formerly part of the Big Five accounting and consulting firms (the company was formed out of Arthur Andersen, a global accounting and consulting firm that went bankrupt following the Enron scandal in the US), said in a statement that it expresses its “deepest appreciation and thanks to the volunteers, emergency service personnel, defence reservists and community members who have worked tirelessly to bring aid to those who need it most.”

Supporting its cause, Accenture has decided to double all donations made by its employees.


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