THE TOP 50 UK accounting firms have broken the £10bn revenue figure for the first time, performing well despite ongoing tough economic conditions, according to the latest annual Accountancy Age Top 50 +50 survey of firms.
A haul of £10.3bn was made by the 50 biggest UK firms, compared to £9.8bn in our 2011 survey. Fee income revenues have hovered around the £9.8bn mark for several years.
Big Four firms PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young all performed strongly, dominating proceedings. Their combined fee income revenues in the 2012 survey were £7.73bn (billion), a 6.7% increase on the previous year's results (£7.24bn).
The number of partners employed by the Big Four firms has climbed to 3,005, from 2,908 a year earlier.
"The UK's biggest firms have learned from the mistakes of the early noughties, when the downturn following the dotcom bust caught them unawares and overstaffed. More judicious hiring and flexible working conditions have seen the top accountants hold their own during very tough trading conditions," said Accountancy Age editor Kevin Reed.
"It's not to say that the last few years haven't been painful, but in general the biggest firms have generally made a better job of handling the situation compared to ten years ago."
Core service lines for the firms – tax and audit – saw modest increases in revenue growth. But consulting services saw a bigger jump, with three of the four reporting double-digit growth. "Perhaps an increase in selling advisory services suggests that the bigger clients are more optimistic about growth prospects and are calling on accountants for support," Reed added.
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