Big Four set to see elusive double-digit fee growth

Rumours circulating the profession suggest the Big Four are set to follow
solid fee increases in 2004/05 with double-digit increases for 2005/06.

Deloitte’s figures, shown in last week’s Accountancy Age Top 50 survey,
included a substantial chunk of 2005, and indicated growth of 8% on the previous

Insiders have suggested that PricewaterhouseCoopers will trump that with
growth of more than 10%, and KPMG will top even that, with growth heading as
high as 20%. PwC’s financial year ended last week, and it expects to release
figures later this year. KPMG’s year end is not until September, but early
indications are said to be positive.

The boom in consultancy, as revealed by Accountancy Age last month, may be a
significant factor in the growth rates, although insiders say growth has been
seen across the board as well.

The projected growth figures add further credence to suggestions that the
profession has finally lifted itself out of the difficulties it faced after
Enron and Worldcom.

Big Four firms experienced a fee drop in 2003/04 of 1%, turning that into a
5% increase in 2004/05.

The Big Four’s growth rates may surprise some. Predictions that smaller
accounting firms could attract business in the wake of stricter rules do not
appear to have affected the top tier’s ability to pick up business.

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