Advisory work lifts revenue at Grant Thornton

Marion Dakers

GRANT Thornton has posted a 13 per cent surge in annual revenues to £471m as the accountancy firm picks up more advisory work from large-cap firms and mid-cap audit contracts.

The firm said turnover in its advisory business rose by more than a fifth in the year to the end of June, helped by an uptick in work for financial firms adapting to changing regulation, as well as increasing amounts of work with government bodies.

Distributable profits rose six per cent, while profits per partner were up 4.2 per cent due to a number of new partners and further investment in the business.

Grant Thornton’s audit unit enjoyed a 9.2 per cent revenue rise, though chief executive Scott Barnes said the gains came from mid-cap companies such as pub chain Fuller, Smith & Turner, which the group won from EY last month, rather than blue-chip clients.

Barnes thinks it will be some time before the Competition Commission’s efforts to crack open the statutory audit market provide the firm with its first FTSE 100 mandate – all but one of which are currently held by the so-called Big Four accountants.

“The mood music around audit is such that there will be more and more tenders, and I think it’s inevitable that we and others will get involved in these. It will take some time for that mood music to turn into activity but I think it will happen,” he told City A.M.

The firm has spent “five or six years” investing in its financial services business, and continues to look for acquisitions to beef up its advisory arm, Barnes said.

But Grant Thornton has steered clear of the takeover of troubled rival RSM Tenon, which was bought by Baker Tilly in a pre-pack administration during the summer.

“It was feeling inevitable in terms of Tenon needing to do something in their business… We keep a watchful eye on what’s going on,” said Barnes.

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