Getting Structural – There’s Money For The Big 4 In Those Funds

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I found this interesting because of the mention of “commissions” for helping corporate clients attract EU structural funding for projects in Romania. How many other firms in other countries which will receive funds (they range from developing countries like Romania to developed countries like the UK) are setting up such practices?

The business model, where the consultant is paid on a “commission” basis for helping the client do whatever is necessary (lobbying or just paperwork?) in order to win approval for EU funding of their project, sounds a little off the beaten path for an audit firm. How will the US firm police this when their Romania office is helping a US-based multinational that’s a statutory audit client with a potential investment opportunity in Romania? What about a US-based or foreign-based multinational, (a foreign based multinational audited under SEC rules by a non-US office poses a more difficult monitoring challenge for the PCAOB) or one that is part of a joint venture that wants to attract funding and Deloitte Romania charges a commission that is “several percentage points of the value of European funding”?

Can the firm advise a public sector client on attracting funds and take a “commission” too?

Deloitte launches consulting department for European funds

Deloitte Romania, an audit and consultancy company, has launched a department to attract structural funds, George Mucibabici, company chairman said yesterday.

“Through this new service, we will advise our clients who seek European structural funds, a sector that we predict will have significant growth potential in the coming period,” explained Mucibabici. He believes the structural funds consultancy market is quite large, with consultants’ commissions standing at several percentage points of the value of European funding attracted for each project.
Within the next seven years, Romania will be able to access structural funds worth over 17bn euros, according to estimates made by Deloitte’s chairman, because the market has a high potential for players in this field.

The majority of the funds are targeted at the public authorities (in the case of which the European funds can cover up to 98% of the project’s funding), with the remaining funds being accessible to the private sector (where European funding can cover up to 50% of the value of each project).
Consulting services for European funds are the latest line of business launched by Deloitte Romania, whose other departments include: audit, fiscal and legal consultancy, financial advisory and management consultancy.

Deloitte posted business worth 18.3 million euros last year, up 36% against 2005, and registered the fastest growth rate among the Big Four (the top 4 auditing companies worldwide). In the fiscal year ending May 31, 2007, Deloitte saw turnover increase by over 40%, a rate the company forecasts will continue next year, as well.

The 40% growth rate is in excess of the average rate of the players in the Big Four group, which includes PricewaterhouseCoopers at No. 1, Ernst&Young at No. 2, KPMG at No. 3, and Deloitte at No. 4. Big Four’s cumulated business increased 16% last year, to 97 million euros.