PricewaterhouseCoopers International

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PricewaterhouseCoopers International

legal form Limited
founding 1849 in London
Seat London , UK
management Robert E. Moritz (Chairman)
Number of employees 250,930 (2018)
sales $ 41.3 billion (2018)

PricewaterhouseCoopers International (PwC) is a global network of legally autonomous and independent companies in the areas of auditing , tax consulting and corporate and management consulting .

The global PwC association today has member companies in 157 countries that together employ more than 250,000 people worldwide. The turnover of the entire group in the fiscal year 2015 amounted to 35.4 billion US dollars. PricewaterhouseCoopers was created through the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand. Both original companies have existed for over 150 years.

PwC is one of the four accounting firms with the highest turnover in the world, so it belongs to the so-called Big Four .


Former PricewaterhouseCoopers building in Berlin.

The history of the network, now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, began in 1849 when auditor Samuel Lowell Price founded his company in London. Also in London in 1854 William Cooper opened his own shop. Price partnered with his two colleagues Holyland and Waterhouse in 1865. Nine years later they changed their name to Price Waterhouse & Co. William Cooper has operated under Cooper Brothers since 1861.

Both Price Waterhouse & Co. and Cooper Brothers expanded strongly. The British Cooper Brothers & Co. (UK) and McDonald, Currie and Co. (Canada) and Lybrand, Ross Broth. & Montgomery (US) merged in 1957 as Coopers & Lybrand. In 1982 the Price Waterhouse World Firm was founded. In 1998 the two companies merged. Four years later the management consulting part was sold to IBM .

On April 3, 2014, PricewaterhouseCoopers took over Booz & Company . Since the merger, the international strategy consultancy has been part of the PricewaterhouseCoopers company network under the new name Strategy & .


German PwC headquarters (Frankfurt)

Under the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) brand , companies in 157 countries offer services independently and independently of one another. The companies are subject to the applicable laws, trade customs and professional regulations. You cannot enter into contractual obligations for the other company. Each company is only liable for its own actions or omissions, but not for the actions or omissions of any of the other companies. Not every company offers all services and certain services may not be available due to the applicable laws.

All companies are affiliated with PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, which u. a. holds and manages the rights to the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) brand , is responsible for corporate design and takes on other coordinating tasks. However, this company does not provide any services to clients itself.

The global CEO has been Robert E. Moritz since July 1, 2016. Its tasks are of a more representative nature due to the legally autonomous and independent organization.


Logo until 2010

The services of PricewaterhouseCoopers can be divided into three business areas:

Audit and audit-related services
Tax & Legal
National and international tax advice, personnel and transfer pricing as well as compliance advice.
Consulting, transactions, process and crisis consulting, strategy consulting (via the Strategy & subsidiary), process optimization, restructuring, crisis management, etc.

In addition to the service line structure, teams with industry-specific know-how support customers from all markets, such as

  • Consumer goods industry
  • Financial services
  • Technology, media and telecommunications

The sector layout can vary from country to country.

Some major customers

PwC in the press

PwC has been an auditor for the Russian oil company Yukos since 1995 . In the course of the break-up of the group and the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky , who was convicted of fraud and tax evasion, he was always able to refer to the reports of the PwC auditors, which certify that the accounts were flawless . However, PwC was also suspended in 2007 for tax evasion , had to pay 290 million rubles (8.3 million euros) in taxes and was prosecuted for alleged aiding and abetting tax evasion in the Yukos case. After the state pressure on PricewaterhouseCoopers Russia had risen sharply, all audit reports for the years 1995 to 2004 were withdrawn due to new findings that were not mentioned further. In October 2008, the lawsuit against PwC was dropped and the case closed.

In October 2011 it became known that the federally owned bad bank FMS Wertmanagement , which was spun off from Hypo Real Estate (HRE), had a booking error of 55.5 billion euros. After clarifying the facts together, the Ministry of Finance discovered a communication problem between the banks involved. The auditor PwC, who was supposed to supervise the bad bank, at least helped with the clarification.

Tax advice and tax avoidance

Example of a tax agreement between PwC and the Luxembourg tax authorities

In 2013, PwC had sales of $ 8.8 billion worldwide with tax advisory services. PwC also advises its customers on the creation of tax avoidance models and provides an assessment of whether these models are legally valid. A hearing in 2013 made it public that the company is also developing and selling tax models where the chance of surviving a tax court is only 50 percent or less.

Luxembourg leaks

In the so-called “ Luxembourg Leaks ” in 2014, a total of 28,000 pages of secret tax documents were leaked , which show how international and German corporations avoid billions in taxes. According to reports in the Süddeutsche Zeitung , the documents were mainly written by PwC employees. Accordingly, the consultants came up with offshore constructs for their clients that specifically exploited loopholes in international tax legislation. The documents show how a total of 343 corporations organize their tax evasion. Under the aegis of the finance minister at the time, Jean-Claude Juncker , PwC succeeded in developing a tax-saving model for large corporations such as Ikea , Pepsi , Apple , Deutsche Bank , Amazon and many others, so that their tax burden sometimes amounted to less than 0.1% of profits. The resulting tax losses in neighboring European countries are likely to run into the billions.


It was also revealed that PricewaterhouseCoopers had established a complex tax evasion model for Caterpillar . A profit of 8 billion dollars, which was initially made in the USA, was then posted to Switzerland. These transactions reduce the US tax burden by $ 2.4 billion. Internal emails from two employees indicate that this model should be obfuscated.

Web links

Commons : PricewaterhouseCoopers  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Leadership team
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  5. [3]
  6. ^ "Big Four" in a mood of attack , Handelsblatt Online, October 13, 2013
  7. ^ Dennis M. Nally . PwC. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  8. Stern 12/2013, p. 86
  9. thyssenkrupp Annual Report 2014/2015. Accessed March 7, 2017 .
  10. Transparency report 2017 PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH. (PDF; 275 KB) 38 pp. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  11. PwC withdraws Yukos audits . Financial Times. June 24, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  12. ^ The Wall Street Journal , October 27, 2008.
  13. ^ FAZ Online , October 31, 2011
  14. ^ FAZ Online , November 2, 2011
  15. Süddeutsche Zeitung, tax trickster on duty
  16. ^ House of Commons, Committee of Public Accounts, Tax avoidance: the role of large accountancy firms , p. 5, p. 24
  17. ^ This is money, Prem Sikka For The Daily Mail, THE PROFESSOR'S VIEW: Number's up for Big Four accountants behind tax avoidance schemes and duff audits of banks
  18. ^ International PwC tax schemes exposed , Financial Review, Australia
  19. ^ This is how Luxemburg-Leaks was researched , Süddeutsche Zeitung, November 5, 2014
  20. Some of the profits do not even have to be taxed at 0.1 percent , SZ Online, November 6, 2014
  21. Michael Hudson, Sasha Chavkin, Bart Mos: Big 4 Audit Firms Play Big Role in Offshore Murk. In: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). November 5, 2014, accessed May 12, 2017 .
  22. Caterpillar saves billions in taxes in Switzerland. In: Handelszeitung . April 1, 2014, accessed May 12, 2017 .