Big Four hurting as Deloitte revenues shrink by 2%

We now have our first insight into the way the recession is affecting the Big Four accounting firms. Deloitte today reveals that gross revenues are 2% down year on year from £2,010m last year. (See the Accountancy Age Top 50 +50).
For the year ending 31 May 2009 the revenues are £1,970m. That’s below the magic £2bn number that senior partner John Connolly worked his firm so hard to achieve.
More painfully for the partners distributable profit was down 6.1% to £601m.
Connolly put a brave face on the results in a statement this morning (Monday) that the result was satisfactory. But it’s got to have hurt to come back down that £2bn mark given that it was his personal project. It might also put a dent in Connolly’s claim that, reputationally, Deloitte had already over taken the UK’s biggest practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers. Certainly any hope of overhauling PwC on revenues must have receded, at least for the medium term.
The next year will be critical and Connolly himself only anticipates a ‘fragile and slow’ recovery. It’s anybody’s guess how the other three big firms have weathered the crisis and the recession. When we get results later in the year we may see one or two may have suffered even more.

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