Grant Thornton International
|Global network of independent member firms|
|Peter Bodin (CEO)|
|Products||Assurance services, Tax advisory, Specialist advisory services, Management consulting|
|Revenue||US$5.45 billion (2018)|
Number of employees
Grant Thornton is the world's seventh largest professional services network of independent accounting and consulting member firms which provide assurance, tax and advisory services to privately held businesses, public interest entities, and public sector entities. Grant Thornton International Ltd is a not-for-profit, non-practising, international umbrella membership entity organised as a private company limited by guarantee. Grant Thornton International Ltd is incorporated in London, England, and has no share capital.
According to Grant Thornton International Ltd, member firms within the global organisation operate in over 130 countries employing over 53,000 personnel for a combined global revenue of US$5.45 billion.
The earliest origins of the name date back to 1904, when the UK firm of Thornton, Webb & Co was formed. Through a series of name changes this firm merged in 1959 with another UK firm, Baker & Co, which traced its origins to 1868, to form the firm Thornton Baker. In 1975 Thornton Baker merged with Kidston, Jackson, McBain, a UK firm which traced its origins to the Glaswegian accountant, Robert McCowan, who set up in practice in 1844, and was a founder of the Institute of Accountants and Actuaries in Glasgow in 1853.
In the US, 26-year-old Alexander Richardson Grant founded Alexander Grant & Co in Chicago in 1924. Grant had been a senior accountant with Ernst & Ernst (now EY). Alexander Grant was committed to providing services to mid-sized companies.
When Grant died in 1938, Alexander Grant & Co survived the change in leadership and continued to grow nationally. In 1969, Alexander Grant & Co joined with firms from Australia, Canada, and the United States to establish the organisation of Alexander Grant Tansley Witt. This organisation operated successfully for 10 years.
In 1980 Alexander Grant & Co and Thornton Baker, firms with similar qualities, clients, personnel numbers and values, joined with 49 other firms to form a global organisation, Grant Thornton. In 1986, Alexander Grant & Co and Thornton Baker changed their names to Grant Thornton, reflecting their mutual affiliation and strategic alignment.
In 2018 Grant Thornton UK LLP, the UK member firm of the network, was fined £4 million for audit misconduct after a former partner joined the audit committees of two organisations while Grant Thornton UK LLP was still auditing them. Later that year, for unrelated reasons, Grant Thornton UK LLP's chief executive Sacha Romanovitch, their first female chief executive, announced she would step down.
Early in 2019 the UK member firm lost the audit of Patisserie Valerie after it failed to spot a £20m accounting black hole in its books, thereby triggering an investigation by the Financial Reporting Council.
In September 2019, Grant Thornton (along with other defendants) entered into a settlement agreement with VEREIT stockholders to settle pending class action litigation against Grant Thornton regarding among other things alleged violations of Section 11 of the 1933 Act (In re American Realty Capital Properties, Inc. Litigation and the remaining opt-out actions), at a cost to Grant Thornton of $49 million.
Recent significant mergers
- In 1987 Grant Thornton merged with Carter Chaloner & Kearns
- Grant Thornton UK merged with RSM Robson Rhodes in July 2007
- Grant Thornton Russia merged with Rosexpertiza in January 2012
- Grant Thornton China merged with Ascenda CPA in January 2012
- In May 2012 Grant Thornton Australia merged with several former BDO offices in Melbourne and Sydney.
- In July 2013, Grant Thornton Johannesburg merged with the local PKF member firm.
- In February 2018, Grant Thornton South Africa merged with SizweNtsalubaGobodo.
- In July 2018, Grant Thornton Japan added the Yusei Audit Co. and Yamada & partners Certified Public Tax Accountants’ Co. to the network, bringing Grant Thornton’s total headcount in Japan to over 1,600 people with combined revenues of over USD170 million.
Although many of the firms now carry the Grant Thornton name, they are not all members of one international partnership. Each member firm is a separate national entity, and governs itself and manages its administrative matters independently on a local basis. This is similar to other professional services networks.
Grant Thornton member firms service international work through their local International Business Centres — located in 40 major commercial centres throughout the world.
Grant Thornton International Ltd carries out an annual global research project: the International Business Report, which surveys the views and expectations of over 11,500 privately held businesses across 40 economies.
Moldova bank fraud scandal
Grant Thornton Moldova has been accused of incompetence after being the auditor for three of Moldova's banks involved in the Moldovan bank fraud scandal. The theft was discovered in November 2014 at Unibank, Banca de Economii and Banca Sociala, which Grant Thornton Moldova audited in 2011 and 2013 along with KPMG. Stephane Bride, one of the managing partners of Grant Thornton in Moldova, was appointed as the Moldovan Minister of Economy after the scandal broke out. Allegedly, the money was embezzled and spirited out of the country in complex financial transactions, some through UK companies. The authorities had to rescue the three banks with a bailout equivalent to half the annual budget. None of these allegations have been proven and Grant Thornton Moldova did qualify the audit reports for these banks.
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- "VEREIT® Enters Into Agreements to Settle Pending Litigations". Yahoo. 9 September 2019.
- Kelly, Bruce (9 September 2019). "Nicholas Schorsch's former flagship REIT settles with investors for $1 billion". Investment News.
- Heller, Matthew (9 November 2017). "Ex-American Realty CFO Gets 18 Months in Jail". CFO.
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- "SizweNtsalubaGobodo joins Grant Thornton network". Grant Thornton South Africa: An instinct for growth. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
- Grant Thornton International Limited Member firms Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
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- Chișinău, Matei Rosca in (1 July 2015). "Vanishing act: how global auditor failed to spot theft of 15% of Moldova's wealth". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2018.