PracticeConsultingIntegrity holds the key to consultancy return

Integrity holds the key to consultancy return

It’s been obvious for some time who holds pole position as largest Big Four firm in the UK

Baring accident or major merger, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ position is
unassailable.

But this is not the case if measuring the consultancy arms of the Big Four.
Here Deloitte reigns supreme.

This year Deloitte’s consultancy business grew £36m to £351m. PwC grew by
£16m to £216m, bringing their joint income to more than half a billion. That
means that for every £100 spent on consultancy, roughly £10 is spent on one of
the consultancies lodged firmly in the accounting industry.

While the general growth rate of consultancy revenues has not risen as fast
as in previous years, Deloitte’s ability to build its income from this source
has vindicated, from a business point of view, its decision to stay in
consultancy at a time when the other big firms were turning their back on the
sector under pressure from conflicts of interest.

The conundrum is whether those questions come back as the market place for
these services becomes ever more competitive? The answer is that it seems
unlikely. Firms like Deloitte and PwC are clearer than they ever have been
before on who they will and won’t work for. Deloitte, when it took the decision
to hold on to its consultancy made things plain – you just don’t do your audit
clients.

And clarity will be crucial if the firm is going to achieve its ‘two in two’
ambition – revenues of £2bn in the next two years – with consultancy providing
its contribution. After all a selling point must be the integrity that comes
from being part of an accounting and audit firm, and its willingness to maintain
that integrity. If that wasn’t a selling point, there’d be little point in being
an accountancy firm these days.

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