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Big Four accountancy giant PwC confirms closure of Norwich office

PUBLISHED: 14:06 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:09 23 November 2017

PwC's offices in Norwich, pictured when they opened in 2013. Picture: Simon Finlay

PwC's offices in Norwich, pictured when they opened in 2013. Picture: Simon Finlay

Archant Norfolk

One of Norwich’s leading accountancy firms is to close its city offices as it encourages staff to work on the road instead.

PwC says the move is in response to its clients’ changing demands and comes as it bolsters regional offices elsewhere in the country.

Some 81 staff will be affected by accountancy firm PwC’s decision to leave its St James Court office, though the company claim all will be offered roles elsewhere with the company.

Norwich is one of six offices to be closed as part of a restructure which will see PwC increase its headcount outside of London. The office, opened in 2013, will close by April 2018.

Jamie Harley, PwC’s head of media relations, said staff would be asked to work remotely or base themselves with clients they advise, with Cambridge becoming the nearest office.

“We are still fully committed to Norwich, Norfolk and the region, and there are roles for all our people,” he said. “We are looking at different ways of working, such as flexible and remote working.

“We will have a slightly smaller number of regional offices. We can then build centres of expertise.

“While we won’t have a physical office in Norfolk, we will still have people working with clients in Norfolk. They already spend a lot of time at clients’ sites and we won’t now rely on a physical office, in the same way other organisations do.”

The other offices to be closed in the plans are Liverpool, Sheffield, Dungannon, Plymouth and Swansea, affecting around 400 of PwC’s 19,000-strong UK workforce.

Mr Harley acknowledged “a handful” of roles were “not client-facing”, and therefore would not be suitable for remote working, but said discussions with those staff would be a priority.

But he denied that office closure was a retreat from the county.

“We are constantly talking to clients about the way they want us to serve them and meet their demands,” said Mr Harley.

“One thing that’s changed massively is new technology, and the way that enables us to work differently.

“Our clients are looking at things like AI and virtual reality and data analytics. Having bigger offices allows us to build centres of expertise that we can then take to clients. It’s harder for small offices to have that critical mass of expertise.”

Nationally, PwC is expanding key regional offices to add a further 1,250 jobs, with 60% of its graduate intake next year expected to be outside London. New flagship offices in Manchester and Birmingham will open in 2019.


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