BusinessCompany NewsDouble first is a score to die for

Double first is a score to die for

PricewaterhouseCoopers has become the first UK accountancy firm to top £2bn in fee income in a year

While it should come as no surprise given the firm’s growth rate, it still
marks a huge success for PwC, which added some £220m in revenues in the year, a
figure not far off the £275m in revenues of the UK number 6 firm BDO.

The £2bn figure was clearly something of a target. Even John Connolly of
Deloitte has talked recently of his firm achieving £2bn in the next two years –
or ‘two in two’, as he has put it.

But are revenues the only mark of a firm’s success? John Griffiths Jones, the
new chief at KPMG, has said he has no interest in overhauling either PwC or
Deloitte to become the country’s biggest firm. He seems to set more store in
healthy growth rates and the willingness of clients to rate the firm highly in
customer satisfaction surveys. It’s not about revenue churn, he says, it’s an
entirely different game.

But competing in the league table cannot be entirely without merit. The big
players keep an eye on each other’s growth and Deloitte’s promotion to number
two after taking on the UK work of Andersen must have rankled a little. PwC
would surely feel the sting if Deloitte were to live up to Connolly’s
once-stated ambition of being the biggest in the country.

The attractions of achieving and maintaining such scale are irresistible.
Marketplace presence, automatic respect, and the ability to trade on ubiquity,
as well as skills, are all advantages that flow from such a huge size. Plus, it
gives the ability to service the big global clients – a market of rich pickings
indeed. It’s not something any of them would want to give up.

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