KPMG UK breaks £2bn barrier, while partner pay falls

GROWTH in revenues of 6% has seen KPMG UK break the £2bn barrier, but its managing of partners has seen average take-home fall.

The Big Four firm has announced revenues of £2,068m for the financial year ended 30 September 2016, from £1,956m.

All functions grew except risk consulting, which saw large bank remediation projects close. Highlights for the year included mid-market tax, transaction services and management consulting – all achieving double-digit growth. KPMG also secured audits of companies such as Legal and General, John Lewis Partnership, Standard Life, Balfour Beatty and Wood Group.

Chairman Simon Collins said: “Stimulated by regulatory reform, audit tendering activity in 2016 was the busiest year for the FTSE 350 since the trend began in 2013.  Throughout this busy year of tendering, we have won some fantastic work, and maintained a FTSE 350 share of 28%.”

KPMG’s national markets tax business grew net sales by 15%, while the management consulting function saw a 13% increase in net sales. The firm worked on transactions such as the London Stock Exchange/Deutsche-Bourse merger and SABMiller’s acquisitions of beer brands.

Promotions and retirements

The firm made 40 internal promotions and accelerated the retirement of a number of partners, all of which led to a reduction of average partner pay to £582k from £623k. As chairman, Simon Collins was paid £1.8m, down from £2.2m in the previous year. Approximately 1,500 new jobs were created, with total staff now just over 13,000, and has around 600 partners, a similar level to the previous year.

KPMG’s management consulting team won large managed services projects such as the Civil Service Learning contract to provide up to 400,000 civil servants with their learning and development needs. KPMG received 28,000 applications for 1,200 graduate and apprenticeship places.

Collins added: “As a major employer, we continue to be hugely attractive to graduates and apprentices. One of our biggest successes this year was piloting a new industry first approach to graduate recruitment.”

Market forces have been changing the shape of professional services, specifically audit rotation and the move towards online services and technology. The firm said it has “responded well” through setting up costs for new technology led services, which reduced the profits by 2%, as well as investing in external hires and emerging services. KPMG is working with IBM Watson on artificial intelligence tools and McLaren Applied Technologies on predictive analytics.

Looking ahead to 2017, Collins said: “There are uncertain times, with our clients considering Brexit, the impact of Trump’s presidency, and terrorism.  We appointed a senior level head of Brexit within weeks of the vote and I think our overall investments have transformed our agility. I am confident that we’re well positioned for the future.”

The amount of total tax payable from its revenue base was £790m to HMRC.

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