Media investigation Into Big Accounting Firms Finds They Recruit Justice and Tax Enforcement Officials.
An investigation by the Canadian CBC news organization into various big names in the world of accounting has found that major accounting companies including the “Big four’ hire senior revenue agency enforcement executives and tax lawyers from the department of justice. This practice has been going on for a period of more than a decade, the investigation revealed.
The four largest accounting firms in the country, also known as the big four, are KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and Deloitte. These firms have apparently hired more than 50 former government tax officials in the past 15 years.
This information was unearthed in a CBC news investigation, where the news gathering division of the CBC compiled a long list of ex-CRA officials who are now working for the big four.
It remains shocking that many of these officials openly describe their past government experience.
The investigation also quotes a former CRA executive saying that most make the move to the private sector for the financial benefit.
According to the CRA’s current directive on conflict of interest and post-employment for executives, employees are not permitted to join a firm with which they had “significant official” dealings for at least one year after their employment with the agency ends.
However this one year period can be waived off if the employee’s manager so wishes as the employee is only affected by this rule if he or she has had significant dealings with the new employee. This remains vague and open to interpretation.
The CRA also has rules that prevent employees from disclosing any information they learn while working for the CRA that is not already public.
The federal Department of Justice too has similar rules to be followed post employment.
Legally, there are no rules preventing the Big Four accounting firms from hiring anyone they want, including from the CRA and the department of justice. As long as the ex-employees respect their post-employment rules, they are entitled to pursue jobs in any company of their choice.
The accounting firms make no secret of their ex-government hires, and even go on to advertise in industry brochures about the same.
However, it remains difficult to monitor and police whether ex-employees are following their post employment rules, especially the one that prevents employees from disclosing secret information.