PwC UK reports growth for 14th consecutive year - strong growth in regions and Northern Ireland

PwC, the professional services firm, has reported record revenue of £3.60bn for the year ended 30 June 2017, up 5% from £3.44bn last year, as the firm continues to invest in people, technology and its regional presence in response to client demands. 

For the third consecutive year PwC’s results are being released alongside a fully digital annual report, entitled Leading in Changing Times – making a difference, which provides detailed insight into the firm’s strategy, performance and societal contribution.

 

2017 performance

Kevin Ellis, PwC Chairman and Senior Partner, commented:

“Overall, business performance was solid in a challenging and complex market. We continued to invest significantly in our core and digital services, new technologies and create jobs, despite a slowdown in some sectors due to uncertainties related to the EU Referendum result and the US Presidential and UK General elections.

 

“We saw high demand from UK and overseas clients for our insurance, regulatory and real estate services, as well as for supply chain, transaction services and cost reduction support.

 

“Across the UK, we grew strongly in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Midlands and the South East.”

 

The Assurance, Consulting and Tax business divisions grew by 4%, 7%, and 7% respectively, with the Deals practice down slightly (-1%) as strong transaction services based growth was offset by the winding down of some long-term insolvency and forensic assignments. The Middle East practice performed particularly strongly, up 23%.

Profits for 2017 were £822m, down 1% on 2016, as the firm continued to invest heavily in people, technology and growth areas. The average distributable profit per partner before tax was £652,000, down 8% from £706,000 last year, with the overall number of equity partners increasing to 953, from 926 last year.

 

Our clients and investments

Kevin Ellis, PwC UK chairman and senior partner of PwC, commented:

“Supporting our clients is our priority and we’ve invested in innovative new services, using artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and innovative cloud technologies, to help them tackle their immediate and longer term challenges and opportunities.

 

“We’re transforming our business to ensure we have the right skills and technologies to assist with the challenges facing our clients as a result of the 4th industrial revolution. Building a vibrant and sustainable economy right across the UK is essential for the UK to prosper post-Brexit, and we need to play our part.”

 

New innovations include using artificial intelligence in audits, acquiring data technology firm Selera Labs and GE’s tax team and technologies to digitise tax services, investing in Brainspace and Seal technology to apply AI in forensic investigations and deals, and using machine learning techniques to help predict GDP and other economic trends.

The firm established an alliance with CodeBase, one of Europe’s largest tech incubators, based in Edinburgh, to support fast growth businesses, and the Scale-up programme helped 33 disruptive start-ups across the UK grow their businesses, raise equity and build their networks. The cyber security practice, working with the National Cyber Security Centre and BAE Systems, uncovered and disrupted a major global cyber espionage campaign (Operation Cloud Hopper).

Investing in core services is critical to the firm’s ongoing success and this year the audit quality review results from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) were particularly strong. A number of historical regulatory matters were concluded and improvements made to processes and procedures.

PwC has seen significant growth across the UK regions and invested to reflect market opportunities, moving into new offices in Leeds, Bristol, Aberdeen and Southampton, opening a technology industry hub in Reading, building a specialist blockchain team in Belfast, and recruiting 55% of our 2017 graduates into roles outside London.

 

Our people and social mobility

More than 1,500 graduates and school-leavers, including 151 higher apprentices, started their careers with PwC and 960 students undertook paid work experience and internship opportunities. The firm hired graduates from 76 universities and visited 178 schools to help potential recruits understand the career options available. Over 1,300 experienced professionals were also recruited.

In Northern Ireland, 39 school students spent some time this summer with PwC Belfast on two lower sixth work experience programmers - Business Insight Week and PwC’s Big Data Summer Camp. By September, just under 40 school-leavers will have joined PwC for full-time career roles, taking to 150, the total number students who have joined PwC, direct from school, over the past five years.

 

Looking ahead

Kevin Ellis concluded:

“I’m optimistic about the market outlook. While there is uncertainty ahead and UK businesses are looking for a smooth Brexit transition to minimise disruption to the economy and their customers, businesses will be closely watching the government's trade discussions with other countries to understand and capitalise on new trading opportunities post-Brexit.

 

“We’re seeing clients looking to us for advice as they balance the short term domestic agenda with longer term strategic opportunities and the competitive advantage that new technology and a changed regulatory environment can bring.”

 

2017 non-financial highlights:

  • For the third year, PwC has published a purely digital annual report. You can find more information and explore the report at www.pwcannualreport.co.uk (from today, Monday 18 September).
  • PwC published its gender pay gap for the fourth year in a row and became the first professional services firm to publish its data under the new Government regulations for large businesses. PwC’s gender pay gap for 2017 is 13.7%, down from 15.2% in 2016;
  • The firm has become one of the first organisations to publish a BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) pay gap. The BAME pay gap of 12.8% is driven by the fact there are fewer BAME staff in senior roles and more in junior and administrative positions. The firm is focused on recruiting and retaining junior BAME staff and improving the rates of progression into more senior roles.
  • PwC published its progress against its gender and ethnicity targets for all levels of the business for the second year running.
  • More than 82,500 people applied for a job with PwC and the firm now employs more than 22,600 people and 953 partners across 62 offices in the UK, Channel Islands and Middle East.
  • The PwC Foundation’s “Race for £3 million” campaign exceeded its target, raising more than £3.2m for six charity partners - Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland, Beyond Food (part of our joint-venture social enterprise, Brigade), Groundwork UK, National Literacy Trust and Wellbeing of Women.
  • PwC employees voted for Samaritans and UK Youth as the firm’s new charity partners, in line with its commitment to supporting mental health and promoting social mobility.
  • The firm established a data lab in London and introduced a responsible technology policy.

 

Ends

Notes to editors:

Total tax contribution is based on the taxes borne by the firm and partners which include income tax, employer National Insurance Contributions and business rates and the taxes collected on behalf of the government – PAYE, net VAT and employee National Insurance Contributions.

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John Compton
Corporate Affairs, Northern Ireland and Deputy Head of UK Media Relations
Tel: +44(0)7799 346 925
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