PROFESSIONAL SERVICES FIRM OF THE YEAR | The Shortlist

WHETHER it’s advising firms, publishing reports or driving efficiency, professional services firms are never far from the front line in the City. With their global reach and diversified portfolios, the best-known firms have emerged looking healthy and ready to face the challenges of the new, post-downturn world.

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DELOITTE
In common with all the firms in this section, the government’s spending cuts are sure to hit Deloitte hard. For now, though, its employees can be forgiven for celebrating. 2010 was its second-best year ever, with partners on average taking home £873,000. Its results for 2009/10 showed that its revenue dropped £16m to £1.95bn in the year to May, meaning it narrowly failed to overtake PWC as the world’s biggest financial services firm.

ERNST & YOUNG
The smallest of the big four, E&Y is planning for serious future growth. Two years ago it merged its EMEA and India practices, something that has proved profitable. It recently admitted almost 400 new partners, its UK and Ireland advisory practice continues to grow, and it is looking to recruit 1,000 more people in that area. The only shadow? It could still face investigation over Lehman Brothers’ Repo 105 accounting practice.

MCKINSEY
It must be tough being outside the Big Four, but McKinsey still holds its own in this most challenging of company. True, it’s smaller than the others on this list, but employing 8,600 people worldwide, it is by any standard a big firm. Regularly voted the best consultancy to work for in surveys of employers, it is renowned for employing MBAs rather than more experienced managers, and for giving young, talented people a chance to make an impact.

KPMG
Voted the best Big Four auditor for the third year in a row last month, KPMG continues to play a central role in the life of the City, not to mention government too. With a presence in 146 countries and employing 140,000 people, the operation is massive. Globally, its revenue was $20.1bn (£13.1bn) for the last year available – to September 2009. In recent years it has also prided itself on its green credentials, and recently won an award for its environmentally friendly offices, and for a ban on short-haul flights.

PWC
If popularity is a measure of success, then PwC is doing alright; it recently received an incredible 800 applications for just 60 graduate jobs. Earlier this week it announced that net revenues rose 4 per cent to £2bn in the year to June, with pay for its 820 UK partners of £759,000 – down from its record of £777,000 the year before, but still healthy. It also hired 57 new partners and 1,750 other new staff over the past 12 months. It plans to add 800 more in the next year, and in 2011 it will move to an impressive new HQ on the Southbank.