Grant Thornton LLP

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Grant Thornton LLP
Limited Liability Partnership
Industry Accounting
Business Advisory Services
Founded 1924; present name and components in 1986
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, United States
Key people
J. Michael McGuire, CEO; Russell Wieman, CFO
Products Professional services
Revenue $1.4 billion (2014)
Number of employees
6,456 (including partners as of 2014)

Grant Thornton LLP is the American member firm of Grant Thornton International, the fifth largest accounting network in the world by combined fee income.[1] Grant Thornton LLP is the sixth largest U.S. accounting and advisory organization. According to Vault's Top 50 Accounting Firms for 2013 the firm was ranked second overall, trailing only Ernst & Young.

Headquartered in Chicago, Grant Thornton LLP has three service lines: audit, tax, and advisory services. Specific advisory services and areas of expertise include: Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, mergers and acquisitions advice, tax, and business valuations. Target industries include construction, consumer products, financial services, government contracting, public sector and quasi governmental organizations, health care, not-for-profit, and technology.[citation needed]


In 1924, 26-year-old Alexander Richardson Grant founded Alexander Grant & Co. in Chicago. Grant had been a senior accountant with Ernst & Ernst (now Ernst & Young). He chose to leave the comfort of an established company to pursue his plan for public accounting. Alexander Grant was committed to providing services to mid-sized companies, a commitment the firm still holds today.

When Grant died in 1938, he was just 40 years old. Despite this unexpected loss, Alexander Grant & Co. survived the change in leadership and continued to grow nationally under the guidance of several dynamic and innovative chief executive officers. The 1950s and early 1960s were a time of both explosive growth and centralization for the firm. The national office in Chicago was established and net revenue exceeded $5 million in 1961.

During the mid-1960s, the firm’s leadership decided it was the ideal time to expand internationally. With Wallace E. Olson at the helm, in 1969, Alexander Grant & Co. joined with firms from Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom to establish the organization of Alexander Grant Tansley Witt. This organization operated successfully for 10 years.

By 1980, Alexander Grant & Co. joined with 49 other accounting firms, including Thornton Baker in the UK, a firm with similar qualities, clients, personnel numbers and values, to form a global organization, Grant Thornton International. Following its merger with Denver-based Fox & Co. in 1985, Alexander Grant & Co. became the ninth largest accounting firm in the U.S., behind that era’s cadre of “Big Eight” firms.

In 1986, Alexander Grant & Co. changed its name to Grant Thornton, reflecting its affiliation with the United Kingdom firm Thornton Baker, which also changed its name to Grant Thornton. Today, Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd. Grant Thornton International Ltd and its member firms are not a worldwide partnership, as each member firm is a separate and distinct legal entity.

Legal Issues[edit]

The Kenton Circuit Court in Kentucky held Grant Thornton liable for $100 million for the sale of an abusive tax shelter in the case of William A. Yung et ux. v. Grant Thornton LLP et al. (No. 07-CI-2647).[2]

Thought leadership[edit]

Five point plan[edit]

In response to the Enron scandal's effect on the accounting profession, Grant Thornton LLP issued its five point plan to restore public trust.[3] In addition to limiting the services that an auditor could provide to a company, Grant Thornton asked that:

  • audit committees ensure that the auditor’s primary responsibility is to the shareholders and that the auditor’s relationship with management is clearly subordinate to such responsibility;
  • the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must amend its rules for proxy disclosures of auditor’s fees;
  • a principles-based approach should be adopted for all standards-setting areas: accounting, auditing and independence;
  • the AICPA should coordinate a review of the audit methodologies of the major accounting firms.

Grant Thornton LLP Awards[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Summe, Patricia A. (November 2013). "14 2013 TNT 225-14 KENTUCKY COURT ORDERS GRANT THORNTON TO PAY $ 100 MILLION IN DAMAGES FOR SALE OF TAX SHELTER. (William A. Yung et ux. v. Grant Thornton LLP et al.) (No. 07-CI-2647) (Kenton Circuit Court) (Section 301 -- Property Distributions) (Release Date: NOVEMBER 08, 2013) (Doc 2013-26846)". Tax Notes Today. 2013 TNT 225-14. 
  3. ^ "Strengthening the Commission's Requirements Regarding Auditor Independence". US Securities and Exchange Commission. 13 January 2003. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  4. ^ "2012 Working Mother 100 Best Companies". Working Mother ( December 2011. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  5. ^ Burroughs, James (October 2008). "Pink's Top Companies for Women-2008". Pink. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 

External links[edit]