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Grant Thornton ups partner profits as firm clears £500m

GRANT THORNTON is maintaining a “balance” between investment and rewarding partners and staff, its chief executive told Accountancy Age as the firm posted another strong set of figures.

The firm said revenues grew 9% to £512m for the year ended 30 June 2014 – breaking the half-a-billion figure a year earlier than projected under its ‘Ambition 2015′ strategy.

Profits were up 7.7%, with distributable profit per partner up 10% to £385k – which included a change to the taxation of employee service companies midway through the year.

Chief executive Scott Barnes said the firm’s investment into its public sector division, and audit services, was “paying off for us”. “If you don’t invest you slow up”, Barnes said.

Advisory services grew 15%, and Barnes predicts more listed business work as companies swap auditors and look for new advisers. The audit movement will also see some audits picked up by firms outside the Big Four, but doesn’t expect a torrent of wins.

“There will be more movement, but it will take time before it trickles down,” said Barnes.

The firm’s audit practice grew by 4% while turnover from tax remained broadly flat year on year.

Barnes noted signs of recovery outside of London, while M&A work had also picked up. Generally, Barnes sees signs of an improving economy but said eals can slow down leading up to an election “as people sit on their hands”.

“As a firm we are looking ahead with optimism, as we remain client focused, striving constantly to improve efficiency and quality in all areas of our work.”

The firm appointed 42 new partners and directors, with 276 new trainees (both graduates and school leavers) and 116 paid interns working at the firm.

Grant Thornton’s total contribution to the Exchequer in respect of all taxes was £169.4m, with an average rate of tax paid per partner estimated at 42.5%.

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