10 October, 2016

PwC loses top spot to Deloitte as world's largest firm

PwC Global has posted record revenues of $35.9bn for the 2016 financial year, an increase of 7% compared to 2015

The firm reported growth across all of its core practices and regions. It has, however, fallen slightly behind its Big Four rival Deloitte, which last month announced its own record revenues of $36.8bn.

The two firms are neck to neck in the race to be the largest accountancy firm in the world by revenue, a title that PwC did hold. According to the 2016 International Accounting Bulletin annual rankings, PwC snatched top place back after playing catch-up for the previous two years.

For the 2016 financial year, PwC’s $15.3bn assurance business grew by 6%, with a focus on IT, risk and data assurance.

Its advisory arm saw growth of 8% to $11.5bn on the back of increased client demand for consulting, forensics and deal-related work. A strong deals market pushed PwC’s tax business revenues by 7% to $9.1bn.

Regionally, China and India in particular helped boost revenue growth in Asia by 10%. North America and the Caribbean revenues grew by 8% boosted by the US. While in South and Central America, revenues were up 9%.

Revenues in Western Europe grew by 6%, while Central and Eastern Europe recorded an increase of 10%.

“To secure future growth, we are investing heavily in technology to enhance the quality and impact of our services and make the best use of the skills of our people. The world is changing rapidly and we are planning the services our clients, capital markets and other stakeholders will need tomorrow, as well as serving their needs today,” said global PwC chairman Bob Moritz.

“Whether it’s the tax and audit services of the future, blockchain or augmented reality, we are implementing a strategy to meet the long-term needs of our stakeholders and the career aspirations of our people,” he added.

The firm welcomed a record level of new joiners, adding a total of 58,081 people, including 26,780 graduates, more than half of which were female. Overall PwC’s global headcount grew by over 7% to more than 223,000 people. Asia and Central and Eastern Europe saw the largest increases in headcount.

A total of 665 partners were admitted, 27% of which were female.

“With the increase in female partners admitted this year and the highest ratio of female leaders in our history on our global leadership team, we are making progress; but there is much more to do,” said Moritz.

The firm’s UK business reported an 11% increase in its UK revenues this year, despite warning that the impact of the EU referendum is “still being worked through”.

Revenues at PwC UK grew to £3.4bn in 2016, from £3.08bn last year, while profits rose 1.3% to £829m. However, distributable profit per partner fell 5% to £706,000 as the firm invested in people and technology.