Big Four partner numbers climb, as does Top 50 fee income, but even with expectation of growth many firms are still struggling, finds Accountancy Age
THE UK accounting profession is revving up to make further inroads into growth, as economic conditions improve, according to the latest industry data.
The 2014 Accountancy Age Top 50+50 Survey reveals that fee income for the top 50 UK accounting firms has leaped £400m in the past 12 months, to £11.38bn.
While partner numbers have been in the doldrums during the recessionary period, the latest figures show an improving situation. Partner numbers for the Big Four accountancy firms now total 3,099, compared to 3,010 in 2013.
The Top 50 firms have a total of 5,780 partners in place, compared to 5,805 a year earlier.
The Big Four firms have had another strong year, as they look to expand their advisory and consulting divisions. PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY saw a combined £350m in fee growth over the year.
While controversy reigns over the type of tax advice provided by accountants, this has not stopped the Big Four breaking the £2bn barrier for tax service provision (to £2.07bn, from £1.99bn last year).
“Firms big and small have worked extremely hard, effectively doing what they advise clients on: cutting costs, managing cashflow and structuring ahead for better times,” said Accountancy Age editor Kevin Reed.
Despite the improving climate, there are still sections of the market that are struggling to improve.
“There have been plenty of casualties over the last few years, and there are still firms that are limping along. I expect the makeup of the Top 50 firms to be very different over the next couple of years, as the best performers siphon disgruntled partners and clients away from those that have failed to grasp the nettle.”