Grant Thornton International
|Global network of independent member firms|
|Headquarters||London, England, U.K.|
|Peter Bodin (CEO)|
|Products||Assurance services, tax advisory, specialist advisory services, and management consulting|
|Revenue||US$5.72 billion (2019)|
Number of employees
Grant Thornton is the world's sixth-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 56,000 personnel for a combined global revenue of US$5.72 billion.
The earliest origins of the name date back to 1904, when the UK firm of Thornton and Thornton was formed in Oxford. 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 December 2019 Grant Thornton placed in the top 50 global employers for diversity and inclusion (D&I), according to a new index developed by Universum.  More than 247,000 business and engineering/IT students rated Grant Thornton against support for gender equality, commitment to diversity & inclusion and respect for its people. Their perception of Grant Thornton, against these three categories, places the network 28th in the list, alongside some of the world’s most well-known and respected global brands.
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.
Recently the US firm in the network declared their highest turnover in history of $1.9 billion which was a YoY increase of 5.4% over the previous year.
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 USD$170 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.
- Accounting networks and associations
- Big Four accounting firms: KPMG, PwC, EY, Deloitte
- Crowe Global, BDO Global
- Professional services networks
- Grant Thornton LLP
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