PwC Global revenue tops $42bn

PwC’s global revenue topped $42bn (£34bn) last year, up 7%, placing it second of the Big Four behind Deloitte

For the 12 months ending 30 June 2019, PwC firms around the world had gross revenues of $42.4bn – up 7% in local currency and 4% in US dollars with revenues up across all lines of business and major markets.

Advisory operations posted the biggest increase, growing by 10% to $14.4bn, while PwC tax and legal revenues were up by 6% to $10.7bn. Revenues from assurance operations rose by 5% to $17.4bn, despite a highly competitive audit market and challenges of mandatory rotation which sees frequent change of auditor. The firm said that nearly half its total staff – 115,000 - worked in the assurance part of the business.

The firm said the results of its audit quality testing improved in FY19, but conceded it needed to reduce the level of non-compliant audits further. In FY19, of the 1,768 audits PwC reviewed, 94.9% (up from 92.2% in 2018) were deemed compliant.

PwC said that the ‘vast majority of the instances of non-compliance did not involve inappropriate opinions being issued. Nor required a restatement of the audited organisation’s financial statements and/or for the audit opinion to be withdrawn or reissued, but rather a need for improvement in how the audit work was performed and documented’.

Bob Moritz, PwC’s global chairman, said: ‘We know we have more to do and are operating with a continuous improvement mindset. Both in terms of how we test, measure and enhance quality, and also in the levels of investment we need to make to ensure our quality is as high as possible.’

The firm said it ‘takes all instances of non-compliance seriously, and each member firm acts to understand the circumstances which led to its quality objectives not being met, to identify the potential root causes of the problem, and to make improvements to its controls, systems or approaches as needed to stop it from happening again’.

In the Americas, its biggest market, PwC reported revenues of £17.7bn [2018: $16.9bn] up by 5% compared with 4% the prior year, with a particularly strong performance from operations in the US and Canada, offset by some challenging economic conditions in Brazil where revenue rose by 2%.

Revenue in Western Europe totalled $14.1bn [2018: $13.7bn], up by 2.6% with the UK operation accounting for $5.2bn (£4.24bn) of fee income, equivalent to 37% of total revenue.

Revenue growth from the Middle East and Africa was strong with fee income of $1.6bn, increasing by 9%. Across Asia, revenues grew by 7.5% to $6.1bn while in Australasia and the Pacific, revenues hit $1.8bn, up 2%. In Central and Eastern Europe, revenues continued to grow strongly - up 10% - marking the fourth consecutive year of double digit growth.

Across the world in FY19, total headcount grew 10% to 276,005 people, with 1,008 offices in 742 locations across 157 countries. PwC firms around the world promoted 760 new partners on 1 July 2019. However, the representation of female partners continued to remain an issue with only one in five partners being women, although it has gone up from 13% in 2006 to 21% in 2019.

Last month, Deloitte reported global revenues of $46.2bn, and EY posted worldwide revenues of $36.4bn. KPMG’s most recent results, reported in December 2018, showed the firm had $29bn of global revenues.

The PwC Global annual report 2019 was produced in a fully digitised format which made it less accessible than the conventional PDF format.

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