15/09/2021 - 16:15

KPMG disciplines 17 per cent of staff

15/09/2021 - 16:15

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KPMG has been fined, disciplined more than 1,000 staff and cut the pay of 16 partners after it found staff shared the answers for internal tests.

KPMG said two partners had left the firm after its investigation.

KPMG has been fined, disciplined more than 1,000 staff and cut the pay of 16 partners after it found staff shared the answers for internal tests.

The firm has taken disciplinary action against 1,131 people – out of a national workforce of 6,700 people – after it uncovered improper sharing of answers to staff tests relating to 'independence'.

KPMG today confirmed warnings plus remuneration consequences on 46 people, including 16 partners.

In addition, two partners have departed the firm as a result of the investigation.

The US-based Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has censured the firm, imposed a US$450,000 civil penalty and will require KPMG Australia to undertake certain remedial actions.

In a statement, the PCAOB said the misconduct had occured over at least four years and included 250 auditors.

This followed KPMG commencing an investigation into the matter in February last year.

“We quickly identified the improper sharing of answers to the test associated with the 2019-20 Independence Training and called out the behaviour in firmwide communications to all partners and staff in February and March 2020,” it said today.

“Demonstrating how seriously we take the matter, we self-reported the issue to regulators and launched an investigation.

“We then immediately commenced implementation of a remediation plan.”

Its response included internal integrity training which highlighted that sharing answers in relation to testing is not acceptable.

KPMG Australia chief executive Andrew Yates said the firm wanted to reinforce to its partners and people that this behaviour was totally unacceptable.

“It represented not only a breach of our Code of Conduct, but clearly does not align with our values," he said.

“I’m disappointed because the conduct reflects on all of us.

“The behaviour struck at the heart of our culture and that’s why it was crucial we acted quickly and decisively. It is also why we need to learn from this experience.

“We believe the PCAOB recognised how seriously we treated this issue from day one and could see we had stepped up and taken ownership of our response.”

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