Another national accounting firm departs Alaska

Posted: Sunday, June 03, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- National accounting firm Deloitte & Touche left the state Friday, following a trend of large accounting firms pulling out of Alaska.

''Big international companies focus on growth,'' said Bob Mikunda, partner in Anchorage accounting firm Mikunda Cottrell. ''When there's a downturn in the economy, their focus shifts to cost cutting.''

''Deloitte & Touche wants to focus on larger, publicly traded clients,'' said Peter Denn, managing partner for Deloitte & Touche's Anchorage office.

There are not many of those in Alaska, so Deloitte & Touche, one of the largest accounting firms in the state, pulled out.

The company left carefully, arranging jobs for most employees. Local accounting firms are eyeing Deloitte & Touche clients. But in the eyes of some local business people, Deloitte & Touche's departure is the community's loss.

Most of the 45 employees at Deloitte & Touche transferred to KPMG, the remaining big five national accounting firm in town, Denn said. KPMG had a staff of 55, said Anchorage office managing partner Kathy Porterfield.

Mikunda Cottrell has capitalized on the flight of major firms over the past decade or so, building a staff of 60. Mikunda said it is the only firm in the state he knows of besides KPMG that works with publicly owned clients.

Porterfield said Deloitte & Touche's leaving will not make much difference to KPMG, besides getting bigger, since the two companies served the same type of clients. KPMG clients include GCI, Northrim Bank and Chugach Electric. Deloitte & Touche served Alaska Pacific Bank and First National Bank of Anchorage.

KPMG's willingness to take on Deloitte & Touche staffers has smoothed the company's withdrawal, Denn said.

''It brought the tension down,'' Denn said.

Still, Deloitte & Touche will be missed.

''We were disheartened to see another business go,'' said Cheri Gillian, corporate marketing director at First National Bank.

''The corporate identities who are left have to pick up an increasing share of responsibilities in community,'' Gillian said. ''That ultimately shakes out to everybody who lives here. We all suffer from that.''

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