Grant Thornton LLP

Infobox_Company
company_name = Grant Thornton LLP
company_type = Limited Liability Partnership
location = Chicago, Illinois
foundation = 1986, individual components from 1924
industry = Accounting
Tax
Business Advisory Services
key_people = Ed Nusbaum, CEO
products = Professional services
num_employees = 5,454 (2006)
revenue = profit$1.036 billion USD (7/31/07)
num_employees = 5,631 (including partners, as of 7/31/07)
homepage = [http://www.grantthornton.com/ www.grantthornton.com]

Encompasses the U.S. operations of Grant Thornton International, one of the largest accounting organizations outside of the Big Four (Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers). The member firms of Grant Thornton International comprise a global network of 24,512 employees and 2,207 partners in more than 110 countries. Composite revenues of Grant Thornton International member firms in 2006 were $2.8 billion USD (12% growth from 2005). Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm and the organization’s largest, operating out of 50 offices with more than 5,000 employees and 499 partners. U.S. revenue growth has doubled over the past four years — exceeding $1 billion in 2007.

Grant Thornton LLP has three service lines: audit, tax, and advisory services. Specific advisory services and areas of expertise include: Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, mergers and acquisitions advice, tax, management consulting, and business valuations. Target industries include construction, consumer products, financial services, government contracting, public sector and quasi governmental organizations, health care, not-for-profit, and technology.

History

In 1924, 26-year-old Alexander Richardson Grant founded Alexander Grant & Co. in Chicago. Grant had been a senior accountant with Ernst & Ernst (now Ernst & Young), but left to pursue his plan for public accounting.

When Grant died in 1938, he was just 40 years old. Despite this unexpected loss, Alexander Grant & Co. survived the change in leadership and continued to grow nationally under the guidance of new chief executive officers. The 1950s and early 1960s were a time of both explosive growth and centralization for the firm. The national office in Chicago was established and net revenue exceeded $5 million in 1961. During the mid-1960s, the firm’s leadership decided to expand internationally. With Wallace E. Olson at the helm, in 1969, Alexander Grant & Co. joined with firms from Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom to establish the firm of Alexander Grant Tansley Witt. This organization operated successfully for 10 years.

In 1980, Grant joined with 49 other international accounting firms to form Grant Thornton International. Alexander Grant & Co. became the nation’s ninth largest accounting firm in 1985, behind that era’s "Big Eight" firms, following its merger with Denver-based Fox & Co.In 1986, the firm changed its name to Grant Thornton, reflecting its affiliation with the United Kingdom firm Thornton Baker, which also changed its name to Grant Thornton.

Thought Leadership

Over the past few years, some of the accounting and financial issues that Grant Thornton LLP has spoken out on have included:

5 Point Plan

In response to the Arthur Andersen/Enron scandal’s effect on the accounting profession, Grant Thornton LLP issued its five point plan to restore public trust. In addition to limiting the services that an auditor could provide to a company, Grant Thornton asked that:
* audit committees ensure that the auditor’s primary responsibility is to the shareholders and that the auditor’s relationship with management is clearly subordinate to such responsibility;
* the SEC must amend its rules for proxy disclosures of auditor’s fees;
* a principles-based approach should be adopted for all standards-setting areas: accounting, auditing and independence;
* the AICPA should coordinate a review of the audit methodologies of the major accounting firms.

Documenting of Internal Controls

Grant Thornton LLP refused to accept engagements to document their public audit clients’ internal controls (including documenting existing controls), or perform evaluations of existing controls that management uses to support their conclusions regarding the effective design of those controls.

Grant Thornton believed that while the accounting profession should accept a principles-based versus rules-based approach to accounting that a principles-based approach in adhering to the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation should also occur.

Grant Thornton also has an office dedicated to serving the Federal Government: their Global Public Sector (GPS). One service provided also includes documenting internal controls to ensure federal compliance with The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Circular A-123 Appendix A.

tock Option Expensing

Grant Thornton was the first accounting firm to support expensing of stock options when they published a comment letter supporting FASB’s conclusions on Share-Based Payment.

404 Rollback

There was pressure to exempt companies under $700 million in revenues from complying with Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley. Grant Thornton LLP argued for a level playing field. Although smaller companies were more burdened by implementation costs, the additional oversight would keep them attractive to investors through equal transparency.

8-K Rule Revision

In 2006, Grant Thornton LLP urged the SEC to revise 8-K rules to require reasons for all company dismissals of auditors, for all auditor resignations and for all instances in which the auditor chooses not to stand for reappointment. Grant Thornton LLP also asked SEC to require open communications between predecessor and successor audit firms to prevent inconsistencies and sensitive areas from being overlooked.

Lease Accounting

Grant Thornton took a position that lease accounting rules need to change as investor transparency has been seriously compromised under the current rules. Current rules permit assets (and the related financing liabilities) to be kept off the books, as long as the transaction stays within the bright lines of the rules. A principles-based standard that moves leasing assets and liability onto the balance sheet is more direct and more reality-based.

Grant Thornton LLP Awards

* PINK Magazine’s 2007 top companies for women – Making up this year’s Elite Eight companies for women are American Express Co., Heller Ehrman LLP, Kelly Services, Aflac Inc., FedEx Services, Grant Thornton LLP, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and Wachovia Corp.
* Working Mother 100 Best Companies – In making family-friendly policies the norm, including flextime, childcare and telecommuting, Working Mother magazine recognizes Grant Thornton for creating a corporate culture that encourages the retention and advancement of women.
* BusinessWeek 50 Best Places to Launch a Career – Ranked No. 34 on a list that identifies top employers for recent college graduates. Grant Thornton was joined by three other national accounting firms on the list, and in Chicago, Grant Thornton was ranked as the third best place to launch a career.
* “Companies That Care” 2007 Honor Roll – This distinction recognizes organizations that demonstrate an outstanding and measurable commitment to their communities, both within the workplace and beyond.
* “Best Places to Work” – Grant Thornton local offices named by their local media outlets as best places to work:
** Philadelphia
** Edison, NJ
** Wichita
** Atlanta
** Honolulu
** Irvine, CA
** Washington, D.C.
** Albuquerque
** Portland
** Tampa Bay
** Los Angeles
** Oklahoma City

External links

* [http://www.grantthornton.com/portal/site/gtcom Grant Thornton LLP] – official website
* [http://www.gt.com/thinking Grant Thornton LLP Thinking] – thought leadership
* [http://www.gti.org Grant Thornton International] – official website

References


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