Acquisitions and a rise in diversity mark year

Lord Coe was the inaugural speaker at the City A.M. awards, two years ahead of the London Olympics

IT’S been a tough year for many accountancy firms – making it a very tough decision for our judges to make.

However, it has also been a year of opportunity, as the achievements of our nominees prove.

These companies have forged ahead, seeking new markets – especially in London’s growing tech sector.

Mergers with and acquisitions of competing firms, massive contract wins and international expansion have been behind the nominations this year.

We have also noted the trend among the big companies to promote more women to the level of partner, a welcome development that can only lead to more diversity. But there’s still more to be done on this front.



The giant marked this year by making its first foray into investment management by setting up a fund focused on providing early-stage capital to data and analytics firms. The London-based fund, named KPMG Capital, acquired and set up partnerships with data companies worldwide. The fund is the first of its kind set up by an accountancy firm. KPMG also announced 52 new partners, pushing the total number over 600, with one-third of them women – in comparison to only 15 per cent of KPMG’s existing partners. KPMG’s UK chairman Simon Collins added that there was more work to be done on gender diversity at the highest levels of the company.

PwC added more firepower to its consultancy business by snapping up veteran US strategy specialist Booz & Co, and quickly rebranded it Strategy&. The deal combined PwC’s $32bn annual revenues with Booz’s estimated $1bn a year. The buyout came at a time when PwC, which saw off interest from Accenture, had been shopping around for acquisitions to boost this business as its more traditional areas of expertise, audit and tax advice, grow more slowly. In a momentous year, PwC won the tender to audit telecoms giant Vodafone, replacing Deloitte.

Deloitte is putting a lot of emphasis on tech business and its digital division has grown around 50 per cent over the past two years as the firm has consulted on technology software and physical products in the booming sector. It has moved its digital operations team into the heart of London’s Tech City with a new office in Clerkenwell. It has also added a bumper crop of 63 new partners, 32 of whom will become full equity partners. It also recruited 1,658 people into entry-level jobs in 2013, and plans to raise the number this year. Deloitte was also appointed receiver for 30 St Mary Axe – the City’s iconic Gherkin Building.

The accountancy giant, formerly known as Ernst & Young, capped a successful year by buying Boston-based global strategy consultancy the Parthenon Group. It took on Parthenon’s 300 staff, across offices in cities including London, Mumbai, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore and Boston. EY also expanded rapidly this year, announcing that 675 people had been promoted to partner this year – an increase of 33 per cent on last year . EY said it had appointed 237 new partners in its Europe, Middle East, India and Asia region. Worldwide, women made up 26 per cent of the new partners and 28 per cent were in the company’s emerging market bases.

BDO posted a 10 per cent rise in revenues last year as its merger with PKF helped to swell the company’s client list. The firm, which works with mid-market corporate clients, said turnover was £312m, while underlying profits rose six per cent to £55m. Average profit per partner was £240,000. Audit income rose 16 per cent to £111m. The company continues to be one of the most vocal advocates for cracking open the statutory audit market in recent years, demanding that UK and European regulators opt for a more level playing field when it comes to blue-chip clients.