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PwC bruised not battered: CEO

Auditing and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers maintains that it did not play any role in the alleged financial irregularities of fraud-mauled Satyam Computer Services Limited, but is looking back at “significant lessons” from the controversy.

business Updated: Mar 20, 2009 01:25 IST
Gaurav Choudhury

Auditing and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) maintains that it did not play any role in the alleged financial irregularities of fraud-mauled Satyam Computer Services Limited, but is looking back at “significant lessons” from the controversy linked to accusations that its partners rubber-stamped doctored accounts in the company.

It does not expect any major loss of client base in the country.

“Our partners were not complacent. We did not create the fraud. We were misled,” Samuel A. Di Piazza, Jr. global CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview.

Di Piazza, who was in India to meet with clients and employees, said the firm has strengthened its internal processes and plans to bring in partners from its international affiliates to carry out the audit of its clients in India.

“One of the most significant lessons we have learnt is that auditors should maintain a level of scepticism. Our relationship with clients is based on trust, but we must look at things that appear sceptical,” Di Piazza said.

He said most of the clients continue to repose faith in PwC’s quality of services, but there were some who have raised some uncomfortable questions after the Satyam controversy came to light. Pricewaterhouse, the auditing arm of PwC, were the statutory auditors for Satyam.

Two of the firm’s partners S Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri have been arrested on charges of alleged involvement of doctoring of Satyam books.

“India continues to remain one of the most critical and significant markets for us,” Di Piazza said.

Business from India, he said, continues remain the fastest growing for the firm in the entire world clocking “high double-digit growth” rates. “It (the Satyam controversy) has happened. Fortunately it is an isolated case. We do not see any systemic problem,” he said.

This was Di Piazza’s second visit to India in less than two months.