Sanctions in Russia continue to rumble. On Sunday evening, it was announced that consultancy firm KPMG is withdrawing from Russia. A difficult decision or an easy choice?
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“Of course these are people who have been working for KPMG for decades, so that makes it difficult anyway, but in the end it was a firm decision because in this way we explicitly underline that we condemn the invasion in Ukraine,” says spokesperson Jolanda Peek of KPMG. ‘KPMG also has its values and this situation does not meet them.’
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With the withdrawal of KPMG from Russia, some 4,500 jobs will be lost. A decision that is drastic, Peek admits. However, the consultancy firm actively contributes to solutions. ‘We are going to support people where possible. We have also offered people that if they are willing to continue working for KPMG across the border, that is possible. It is of course a brand new decision, so the reactions are currently being inventoried and how they can be helped.’
Peek emphasizes that not only employees will be the victims of the withdrawal, the many customers KPMG has will also feel the effects. ‘Clients can no longer rely on the expertise of our employees there, so we are looking at that too. We want to be able to offer an alternative service to these people.’
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In the Netherlands, KPMG has already made an inventory of customers, which showed that the company does not do business with Russian companies from the Netherlands. ‘That does not apply to other offices. At the beginning of last week, KPMG England indicated that they would stop all activities for Russian companies. If the Netherlands had done business for Russian companies, we would have stopped doing that too. And so each KPMG firm makes its own assessments, based on the worldwide decision to discontinue those activities.’
Peek does not yet dare to say whether KPMG’s move will be a definitive one. “It is the step we have taken for the moment and we have to wait and see if that will be reconsidered at a later time. The most important thing now is that we do everything we can to support the people there.’