Scandals prompt Big Four firms to unite in PR effort

WASHINGTON: "The Big Four" accounting firms - KPMG, Ernst & Young, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu - have banded together in an effort to combat flagging public opinion following a year of industry scandals.

WASHINGTON: "The Big Four" accounting firms - KPMG, Ernst & Young, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu - have banded together in an effort to combat flagging public opinion following a year of industry scandals.

The four companies recently tapped Public Strategies (PSI) to help them manage the continued fallout from Arthur Andersen's complicity in the Enron collapse. Larry Parnell, director of global PR at Ernst & Young, confirmed that PSI had been hired, but declined to provide further details.

"Ernst & Young and these other firms have all retained public affairs firms from time to time, and recently PSI has been brought on to help the profession in a variety of public-policy areas," Parnell said.

Others close to the situation said it was unclear whether PSI would run an actual campaign on behalf of the accounting firms or simply consult on strategy. One executive defined the Austin-based agency's role as "strictly advice and counsel."

PSI did not return calls for comment.

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