City A.M. Awards 2023: Accountancy Firm of the Year
Auditors and accountants have spent plenty of time in the spotlight in recent years, but some firms are leading the way in putting audit and accountancy’s reputation back on the right track – and some are choosing innovative ways to respond to today’s challenges.
The country’s leader in “business rescue and recovery” has, regrettably, been busy over the past year. Revenues were up handily in the first half of the year and the acquisition of Budworth Hardcastle in the summer appears to be paying dividends already. Several higher profile administration appointments and work on the
recovery of bounce back loans for a major bank also suggest a firm gaining in recognition in a crowded field.
Part wealth manager, part accountant, part professional services firm Evelyn Partners – the renamed Tilney Smith & Williamson – continues to grow revenues outside of the Big 4. A 2020 merger has seen the firm grow new business in financial services and net new business flows were 12 per cent higher in the first half of 2022 than the year before. A new professional service tech platform ‘Ignite’ shows a commitment to improvement.
Nobody can fault EY’s ambition, with a forthcoming split of its audit and consulting arms requiring a significant amount of work – but
potentially changing the sector forever. Record UK revenues of £3.2bn last year suggest it hasn’t distracted too much, with consulting growing by a cool 33 per cent, and acquisitions continue with the pickup of a host of growing digital businesses.
The accountant’s accountant appears set fair for continued revenue growth but it’s the firm’s new pitch to employees that caught the eye – putting diversity and inclusion at the heart of the firm’s culture. The giant deserves credit for its willingness to pull out of lucrative deals it’s no longer happy with – resigning from British Steel and bailing out of the entire crypto market.
PwC chair Kevin Ellis continues to lead with aplomb, leaving some unfortunate episodes behind. The firm retained a bumper piece of work with HSBC worth up to $1bn and continues to grow revenues – with worldwide takings hitting a record $50bn last year. Ellis himself has been vocal about the need to diversify the influx of
talent into the profession, with a particular focus on apprenticeships.