Founded in 1904, with swanky offices and globe-trotting executives the accountancy practice Grant Thornton looks solid and dependable. But underneath the professional veneer is a curious mixture of incompetence and ethical failures.
Since 2017 its fines have amounted to over £25 million. Each year the Financial Reporting Council issues a report on it that would make any lesser villain blush. The FRC says Grant Thornton’s work is ‘unacceptable’. A UK judge speaks of “negligence of the utmost gravity”. Its senior people are caught fiddling their time sheets to disguise their involvement.
Like other villains, the firm would say that is all in the past and it has turned over a new leaf. That was the old management, and the new parters are saints. Until, that is, the news cycle has moved on and we’ve forgotten about their recent appearance in the dock.
All of which brings me to Wikipedia. Such a remarkable and unusual example of community action, its work is carried out almost entirely by unpaid volunteers – like me.
Most Wikipedia volunteers have some arcane knowledge that is precious to them. Sea cucumbers, À la poupée printing and the Franco-Prussian War, to mention just three.
Rather more rare are Wikipedia editors with an interest in the murkier side of capitalism. So I wasn’t surprised to see that the Wikipedia entry for Grant Thornton lacked any information about its trail of ineptitude and greed.
Accordingly I have added a new section called ‘Controversies and Criticisms’, which lists ten of its more egregious failings.
Wikipedia’s strict rules meant I was unable to mention that Grant Thornton inhabits the ugliest building in London, something that alone condemns it.
It’s here if you’d like to have a look: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_Thornton_International
Senior Wikipedia editors can be brutal and dismissive, so any day now someone may come and remove the section with a stroke of their mouse. But for now, Grant Thornton’s astonishing list of failings remains on view.
You might also like to see the vehicle I use to seek like-minded volunteers – Wikko.com