Jenny Ruth writes:
The EY business journalism awards have been particularly kind to me.
In their first and second years, I won the radio section and was awarded prize money of $1000 each time. …
So I felt sick last Thursday when I learned EY had disqualified the work of my colleague, Karyn Scherer, on printing company Fuji Xerox New Zealand and its questionable sales tactics and dodgy accounting.
The pride I’d taken in receiving my awards evaporated when I learned the reason for that disqualification was that Fuji Xerox was an audit client of EY’s.
The EY awards, excluding stories on EY audit clients, are worse than no awards at all.
This has particular resonance for me.
Since May, I’ve been working on one of the biggest series of stories of my more than 30-year career as a journalist.
That’s the worsening news from Fletcher Building’s construction division and the seeming inaction – until last month – of its board.
Now guess who Fletcher Building’s auditor is? No prizes for guessing it’s EY.
EY’s stance has also destroyed the value of the awards I’d already won.
The prize money was always of less importance to me than winning the awards themselves but, the longer I thought about it, the more the money felt tainted.
So, on Friday afternoon I posted the framed certificate from the second award and wrote a cheque for $2000 and sent them back to EY
This is doing huge damage to EY’s brand, and to make it worse they have not responded in any way to the controversy. This is just not acceptable. If they did censor the entries on the basis of whom their clients up they need to front up and apologise for doing it, and say it will not happen again.
But by letting this fester, firms will start to conclude they don’t want EY as their accountants or auditors due to the brand damage.