Our international firm owes its existence to leaders in our profession who, from the beginning of their professional careers, recognised the importance of a worldwide practice.
Deloitte is now a global network with more than 200,000 people and revenues over US$30 billion, but it all started with one person, William Deloitte, in 1833.
William Welch Deloitte was one of the fathers of the accountancy profession, which grew out of the lucrative business of sorting out bankruptcy affairs. At the age of 15, he became an assistant to the Official Assignee at the Bankruptcy in the City of London and there he learned his business.
In 1854, at the age of 25, Deloitte opened his own office, making his name with the industry of the day - the railways. In 1849, at the Great Western railway, amidst a great furor, he became the first independent auditor ever appointed. In 1893 he opened offices in the US. Deloitte's, as it was known, started to audit a growing soap and candle business. Over a century later Procter & Gamble is still a client.
When George Touch qualified as an accountant in Edinburgh in 1883 and set off south to seek his fortune, there was no 'e' on the end of his name. By 1906, tired of the common English mispronunciation of his surname, he had it changed.
A flair for saving doomed businesses from disaster led to the formation of George A. Touch & Co in 1899 and in 1900, along with John Niven, the son of his original Edinburgh mentor, he set up the firm of Touche Niven in New York. Touche Niven offices soon spread across the United States and Canada.
Meanwhile Touche himself took his reputation for probity to the electors, became MP for North Islington in 1910 and was knighted in 1917. He died in 1935.
The Japanese firm of Tohmatsu owes its origins to Admiral Nobuzo Tohmatsu. Tohmatsu had been an instructor at the Naval Paymasters' Academy, where he taught Iwao Tomita - the youngest ever student of the Academy.
When the Japanese government wanted to see national audit corporations founded, Tomita responded to the challenge, joining forces with his old mentor Tohmatsu in 1968, founding Tohmatsu. The key to its growth was the decision to send a very substantial number of partners overseas to gain experience. From the start this meant that the firm was always internationally focused.