Had a PwC-Style Accounting Error? Here’s How to Handle It

If you’ve been anywhere near a news outlet today, you’ll know that accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers have made a particularly epic blunder over in America.

Last night’s Oscar celebrations were slightly overshadowed by an embarrassing turn of events when La La Land was mistakenly announced as the winner of Best Picture; a title that should have been awarded to Moonlight.

As the accounting firm in charge of Oscar ballot counting, the blame fell to PwC, who have since issued an apology.

While your accounting blunders may not be viewed by millions of film fans across the globe, it can still be uncomfortable for an accounting firm to own up to a mistake and take the blame. So, what should you do if it happens to you?

Correct it immediately

First thing’s first, corrections.

Whether it’s an error on a tax return or a simply a name entered incorrectly on your system, take the necessary steps to rectify it instantly.

This may mean your company has to pay for the mistake, especially if an error was submitted to HMRC. If this is the case, you should involve your manager and decide on the next steps with them.

If you’re the company director, it’s definitely worth coughing up the fee in order to correct the issue as soon as possible.


In PwC style, you should give a genuine apology directly to those who it affects.

PwC took to Twitter to apologise for the mistake, adding that they “deeply regret that this occurred”.


You may not be required to declare an apology to entire nations as well as esteemed film directors, crews and actors, but, you will need to apologise to the client and you will need to mean it.

Go the extra step and throw in a gesture of goodwill if you’re able to; a little extra will go a long way in these types of scenarios.


Now, you need to look within the company to see where the error occurred by going straight to the source.

You should find out how this error occurred, and most importantly why. What were the variable factors that led to this event and how can you change this so another error like this does not occur?

This step isn’t just important for your company’s reputation, it’s important for your company as you’ll be cutting down the number of errors your firm makes in the future.


Just because the hubbub has died down, it doesn’t mean you should forget to issue a review of your findings.

If you ignore the situation just because the client isn’t talking about it anymore, your company may be called out in a bad review, which will reflect badly on you and risk your relationship with future clients.

You may not want to bring the problem back into the firing line, but there’s more kudos given to companies who act on their word.

Bonus point: don’t blow your own trumpet too much. PwC gave an interview declaring their system watertight just days before the error occurred. Our guess is they jinxed it!

What advice would you give for when things go wrong? Leave your ideas in the comment section below!




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