Top 50 – New economy, new riches

Big Five firms reported a respectable 17.5% average growth in revenue during the year, but did not sustain the massive revenue fee boom in the previous year. A bonanza on the back of a rush by clients to update IT two years ago had the top accountancy firms rubbing their hands with a soaraway 50% average increase in revenue. And the pecking order remained unchanged in this year’s chart despite despite the stirrings of the e-commerce revolution.

The consultancy arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ remains the biggest in the service, but did not provide figures again this year for the sector although the whole business grew by 16% last year. Growth at KPMG, who remained in the number two slot, fell to 30% and just under £282m compared to a 51% or £217m increase in the previous year.

The slowing in revenue growth comes as the Management Consultancies Association’s annual report this April estimated revenues for 1999 would exceed #6bn, with exports of over £1bn, a fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth and a record income of £3.1 bn.

The report also revealed that over 16% of their income came from e-consulting, reflecting a wait-and-see attitude in business and industry over investing in the e-commerce which this year could break into a much anticipated flood.

Outside the Big Five, mid-tier firm Pannell Kerr Forster revealed figures this year showing a sizeable £15.4m management consultancy revenue. And further down the mid-table league, there are signs of firms breaking into the sector. Price Bailey expanded its management consultancy by 700% to £800,000. Wilkins Kennedy grew by almost 130% to £1.08m and Jacksons boomed by 138% to £300,000.

Next year’s table, however, will look distinctly different as the effects of the big firms spinning off their consultancy arms is felt.

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