PwC grows revenues by 11 per cent and champion long-term investment in technology and people

Oliver Gill
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Kevin Ellis took over from Ian Powell as senior partner of PwC in July 2016

Big Four accountants PwC reported double-digit revenue growth for the second year running. And although it warned that the impact of the Brexit vote is “still being worked through” it was confident Britain was agile enough to deal with change.

Revenues grew by 11 per cent to £3.4bn for the year to June 2016 – a rate that was almost identical to rivals Deloitte.

Distributable profit increased to £829m, but the average amount going to partners fell from £740,000 to £706,000.

Ellis explained that the decrease was a result of investment in people – the number of partners increased from 885 to 926 – and also a push on developing the firm’s cyber crime, data analytics and technology.

“Our second year of consecutive double­ digit growth is the result of the long­ term investment we’ve continued to make in our people and new technology,” said senior partner Kevin Ellis.

“We’re seeing particularly high demand for our technology services, largely as a result of investment in targeted acquisitions,” he added.

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Audit revenues increased by 11 per cent and although Ellis said that mandatory retendering makes this strand of the business more of a “challenge” it also presents an “opportunity” in opening up non-statutory work wins.

The full impact of the EU referendum is yet to be seen, according to Ellis, and he said that the “rhythm” of the economy had been disrupted in the last three months. Nevertheless, he remained bullish that Britain could manage the issues that it may create.

“While the impact of leaving the EU is still being worked through… UK business has a good track record of innovating in the face of change and it’s important that businesses continue to invest to ensure that the UK is in the best possible position when negotiating our exit from the EU and entering into other trade agreements," he said.

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And the Brexit vote also provided a new workstream for the firm that recruited more than 1,600 graduates during the year.

“We are working with our clients to navigate the changing landscape and we’re seeing increased appetite for strategic advice and support around immigration, trade negotiations and financial services,” he added.

PwC’s consulting division grew by almost quarter, boosted by the integration of consultancy Strategy&. However, its deals division – that incorporates transaction due diligence and corporate finance operations – grew at a more modest four per cent.

Ellis explained that this comparative slower growth was due to a reduction in revenues realised from the administration of Lehman Brothers’ European operations.

The results also revealed that ratio between partner pay and average employee pay had reduced from 13.6 times to 12.8 times.