PwC revenue hits record high

Strong gains in its consulting business helped PwC increase revenues by ten per cent in the past year, it has said, returning it to its position as the world's biggest professional services firm.

PwC's global network of firms reported record revenue of $29.2bn (£18.7bn) for the year that ended June 30, up from $26.6bn in 2010 and the strongest growth since 2008.

PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, has also said it plans to hire a record 20,000 graduates worldwide in the next financial year and offer training internships to 10,000 students. Its staff now numbers about 169,000.

PwC's revenue was about $400m ahead of that of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, previously the No. 1 accounting and consulting firm. Deloitte had squeaked past PwC last year in total revenue by a margin of just $9m.

Both firms have been on an acquisition spree, building up their consulting arms despite rumblings from authorities in Europe about curbing audit firms' consulting work.

The two firms are part of the "Big Four," which also includes KPMG and Ernst & Young.

Demand for advice on cost-cutting, acquisitions and new technology by companies recovering from the 2009 recession has boosted consulting work, which is growing much faster than the traditional audit business for global audit firms.

Revenue from PwC's consulting and advisory services rose 20 percent in fiscal 2011 to $7.5 billion. Audit and related services grew 7 percent to $14.1 billion, while tax services revenue rose 8 percent to $7.6 billion.

"We expect growth to remain healthy in FY 2012 as companies continue to position themselves for better times," Dennis Nally, chairman of PwC International, said in a statement.