UANI's "Accounting Campaign" highlights the practices of international accounting networks and associations that maintain member or correspondent firms in Iran. At a time when the international community is working to economically isolate Iran in response to the regime's illicit nuclear activities, the provision of accounting, auditing and other professional services by these accounting networks and associations is a boon to the Iranian economy and facilitates international commerce in Iran, often by creating a veneer of credibility and transparency that encourages foreign investment.
Iranian member and correspondent accounting firms benefit immensely from membership in these brand name accounting networks and associations. The member firms receiving training, multinational business opportunities, global expertise and access to a referral network and specialized technical manuals. The presence of these branded accounting firms in Iran also lends a sense of security to multinational businesses that partner with Iranian entities and masks the serious fiduciary and reputational risks that most responsible businesses would otherwise refuse to accept. These Iranian accounting firms also commonly provide services for the Iranian government, blacklisted Iranian entities, and firms in Iran’s sanctioned oil and gas sector.
In the spring of 2010, UANI pursued a successful campaign against three of the “Big Four” accounting firms reportedly active Iran. In response to UANI’s campaign, KPMG severed ties with its Iranian member firm, and PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young informed UANI that they had previously discontinued their business relationships in Iran. As a result, none of the Big Four continue to operate in Iran, which denies the regime the expertise and imprimatur of respectability these firms possess.
Nonetheless, mid-tier international accounting networks and associations are undermining global economic sanctions by working in Iran through their respective member and correspondent firms. Given that these accounting networks do extensive business in the U.S. amounting to hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars, including with U.S. federal, state, and local governments, they must immediately end their Iran business or face significant financial and reputational harm.
Rankings from International Accounting Bulletin and Accounting Today