KPMG UK staff told to hand back work mobile phones
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KPMG has told hundreds of its UK employees to hand in their work mobiles as part of a cost-saving drive ahead of its latest financial results.
The Big Four firm told staff in an internal memo that it would start collecting phones in October, the first month of its financial year. People working in non-client facing roles and junior staff in administrative jobs will be the most heavily affected.
“We will be starting the process . . . over the course of October, to give colleagues time to make alternative plans in the event they don’t already have a personal mobile,” the memo said.
It is the latest attempt by KPMG to rein in costs after it informed 630 secretaries and personal assistants that around a third of them would be made redundant and said it would encourage partners to file their own expenses to save resources.
The firm has also restructured its auditing division in recent months in preparation for reforms to the sector in the UK.
KPMG will publish its latest financial results in December. In 2018, the firm, which is the smallest of the Big Four accountants, reported profits of £356m, which was a rise of 18 per cent on the previous year, but below its £414m profits five years ago.
“To realise our growth ambition, we need to improve our profitability by building a leaner, more responsive cost base,” the memo to staff said. “This will help free up funds to invest in the future of the firm.”
KPMG told staff that the costs of the UK business were higher than any large firm in its international network and the most expensive of the Big Four — which also includes PwC, Deloitte and EY — in the UK.
KPMG’s business services group, which includes its finance, IT, marketing and legal teams and has 3,500 employees, is the first part of the business to have its use of corporate mobile phones restricted. The memo said: “We will be sharing lessons learned with other parts of the business, especially where colleagues are largely office-based.”
The firm declined to specify how many employees would be affected but a KPMG insider said they believed the changes applied to large numbers of staff below its rank of senior manager.
A spokesperson said: “Over the past year we have invested in a range of technologies to support our people, which enable them to work from home or the office with ease. As a result we have less need for mobile phones in certain areas of the business.
“This does not affect anyone whose role requires a high degree of travel or where they need to be contacted out of hours by their clients, customers or team.”