NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
The consulting arm of Big Five accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu said Thursday its board voted to become a privately-held, independent company.
Deloitte Consulting decided Feb. 6 to separate from Deloitte Touch Tohmatsu and since then the consulting firm has been evaluating its options, including a merger, sale to another firm, an initial public offering, or an arms-length relationship with the accounting firm.
The relationship between auditing and consulting services in accounting firms has rocked investor confidence in the wake of Andersen's role in Enron's collapse. Firms typically receive higher fees as consultants, which may then create a conflict of interest for auditing services.
"We have maintained that we cannot put our clients in the position of having to choose between working with ... auditing professionals and our ... colleagues from Deloitte Consulting," said Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu's CEO James Copeland.
Deloitte Consulting said it expects to become a private, independent company with a new name and brand by the end of this year. Its move follows other firms that separated auditing and consulting operations, such as Accenture Ltd. (ACN: Research, Estimates), which split from Andersen, and KPMG Consulting (KCIN: Research, Estimates), which separated from KPMG International.