North East jobs have been lost to Poland after accountancy firm PwC moved an audit division to the eastern European country.
The global firm, which has 36 UK offices and employs 300 people at its city centre office, said 19 people are affected in the offshoring move but that every effort is being made to retain the people at risk of redundancy.
The team affected currently work in the firm’s Smart Systems department, a UK-wide function based in the North East office which is involved in the firm’s audit work, providing administrative assistance to the auditors in the assurance business.
As a national function, the firm said the staff deal with audits of clients from all over the UK, not solely North East clients. These tasks will now be carried out by staff in Poland, where PwC has seven offices.
A spokeswoman said the firm is working hard to retain as many employees as possible and that some have already been deployed to new jobs within the firm.
Some, however, have already chosen to accept voluntary redundancy payments and move on.
The firm said relocating the division to Poland forms part of its Audit Transformation Programme launched within the business several years ago, which aims to improve audit quality.
Part of that programme includes increasing the use of the firm’s offshoring capability through two overseas centres in Poland and India.
A public report carried out by the Financial Reporting Council’s Audit Inspection Unit on PwC for its year ended March 2012 revealed that work performed in the firm’s two offshore centres accounted for about 4% of core audit hours in 2011 and was expected to rise to 6% in 2012
A spokeswoman for PwC said: “We have been consulting with 19 people in our Newcastle office as part of a programme to centralise the delivery of administrative support to our assurance practice.
“We are working closely with the members of staff affected, providing advice on redeployment or retraining where possible.
“At this point in time we have been able to redeploy five members of staff, with a number of others interviewing for alternative roles within the firm.”