Big bonuses

KPMG hands partners biggest payout since 2014

The big four firm has enjoyed a bumper year

Accountancy and audit group KPMG, which has been the focus of a number of scandals, has paid its 570 partners an average annual bonus of £688,000 – their biggest payday since 2014.

About 15,000 UK employees at the big four firm shared £100m on the back of what the firm’s CEO described as a “resilient” performance in the 12 months to the end of September.

However, the firm has been hit by a number of scandals and has recently reached an out-of-court settlement with the Financial Reporting Council over the mishandling of the Carillion audit.

Last summer it was fined £13 million for its role in the sale of Silentnight, the mattress maker, to a private equity group in 2011. It was the largest fine ever handed out by the FRC for a non-audit case.

It has withdrawn temporarily from tendering for UK and Scottish government contracts.

Just three weeks ago its new UK chief executive, Jon Holt, acknowledged that “unacceptable” conduct had taken place in the firm in relation to the audit of the collapsed construction giant Carillion.

The bonus payment for partners was up from an average £572,000 in the previous year and follows a boom year for deals. This led the firm to post a rise in revenue from £2.14bn to £2.35bn and profit before tax up from £288m to £436m.

Partners voted overwhelmingly to back plans to retain and invest the £300m financial proceeds made from both the sales of the firm’s restructuring and pensions businesses, as part of a long-term growth strategy.  

This once in a generation investment will see the firm invest further in its core services such as audit quality, tax and deal advisory, and in high growth areas, such as strategy, Environmental, Social and Governance advice and digital transformation.

Mr Holt said: “This is a resilient performance delivered against the challenging backdrop of the pandemic. I am immensely proud of our people. Over the past year they have delivered outstanding work for our clients, while supporting each other and playing a huge role in their local communities.”

He added: “We have begun the fundamental transformation of our UK business and our partners are united around our long-term vision for the firm. I am determined that, as a business, we will deal with and learn from our legacy issues, build trust in our profession and invest to deliver long-term, sustainable, growth.”

James Kergon, senior partner in Scotland, said: “Our business across Scotland grew in line with the wider UK firm, driven locally by our audit, deals and tax practices.”

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