Revenue surges at Big Four firm

KPMG partners enjoy 15% pay rise despite audit criticism

Big Four accountancy firm KPMG shrugged off the damage to its reputation from the collapse of Carillion to announce a sharp rise in pay for partners and surge in revenue.

Partners have enjoyed a 15% increase in average pay to £601,000 despite the firm being criticised by politicians and regulators over the quality of its audit work before the construction giant folded in January.

It saw an 8% rise in revenues in the UK to £2.34 billion – the fastest growth in a decade – and underlying profit 18% higher at £356m in the year to 30 September.

Profits before tax and partner bonuses rose 53% year on year. Excluding the proceeds of the sale of a building in Canary Wharf, profits rose 18%.

In a statement, the firm said: “This year has presented significant challenges, both for our firm and our profession.

“While we have a great deal to be proud of, we know there are things that we must do better.

“We’re disappointed that the FRC [the regulator] found our overall audit quality score decreased …and that the steps we took in previous years haven’t resulted in the necessary improvements to audit quality at the pace we’d hoped.”

Catherine Burnet, senior partner for KPMG in Scotland, said“Our continued and extensive investment in talent, particularly in new graduates and apprentices, has been a real highlight for the firm in Scotland this year. This investment has helped us to continue to support our clients and drive our growth in line with UK performance, supporting Scotland’s rich and diverse economy, strong financial services sector and public bodies. 

“All parts of the Scottish practice have delivered strong performance in the last 12 months, which is expected to continue into next year and beyond. Where we will also see a focus is continuing to support and facilitate the discussion between the private and public sectors which helps to drive economic growth, increase export levels, unlock regional productivity and narrow skills gaps.” 

Last month KPMG said it would become the first of the Big Four to stop offering most non-audit services for the FTSE 350 customers it audits.

A review of the audit sector by the Competition and Markets Authority and a government review led by Sir John Kingman are both expected to report before Christmas. Next month the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy select committee will begin its own investigation of the sector.


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