Global accounting and consulting giant KPMG has seen its revenues grow by 4% to $25.4 billion for its latest fiscal year. Advisory was for the third year in a row a strong performer, growing by 7%, compared to a 1% growth booked by Audit. KPMG’s total workforce has expanded to a record-high of 189,000 professionals.
Founded in 1987, KPMG is one of the globe’s four largest professional services companies, along with rivals Deloitte, EY and PwC. Relatively in line with its Big Four competitors, KPMG has realised strong growth over the past decade, growing its revenues across its footprint in 150+ countries by over 50%, from $16.9 billion in 2006 to today’s $25.4 billion.
In its latest fiscal year (ending 30 September 2016), KPMG enjoyed growth in all its three functions. Advisory was the best performing function, booking 7.0% growth to $9.74 billion (9.2% last year), taking its share of the total business to 38%. Among the strongest growing services lines were Management Consulting, led in-part by technology-enabled transformation engagements; Risk Consulting, including Financial Risk and Regulatory Management, IT Advisory Services and Forensic; and Deal Advisory, which includes Corporate Finance and Transaction Services.
Tax revenues grew 4.7% over the previous year, to $5.56 billion. The function’s performance was driven by high demand for tax compliance services, as well as international and M&A related services, in all three regions. “In an increasingly inter-connected business world, the tax work done for clients is increasingly important and complex. Clients are looking for help with their tax compliance across multiple jurisdictions, advice on indirect tax, immigration work, and the implications of tax policy across multi-country supply chains”, says John Veihmeyer, Chairman of KPMG International.
Audit was the slowest grower – total revenues of the arm grew by 0.9%, to $10.12 billion. The unit’s slowdown in revenue is in sync with broader market developments, which includes growing competition to win contracts (e.g. European Union audit reforms), dropping margins through the rise of automation and increased scrutiny on quality assurance. In a bid to meet the requirements of the changing market and the quality expectations set by regulators and clients, KPMG is investing heavily in bolstering its Audit capacities. “We are continuing with a several hundred million dollar, multi-year, investment program in new audit technologies. These technologies allow us to provide insight-driven advice on clients’ business risks; in addition, our investments in cognitive processing and in building the D&A skills of KPMG Audit professionals, will continue to increase confidence in the work we do,” explains Veihmeyer.
From a geographical perspective, the Americas was the fastest growing region (7.3%), driven by strong growth in the US, Brazil and Mexico. Asia Pacific delivered stronger growth than FY15, with revenues increasing by 7.1%, led by exceptionally high growth in Advisory. Australia again recorded double-digit growth, with Japan, South Korea and China all outpacing their own growth booked in FY15.
Commenting on the results, Veihmeyer says that he is pleased with the results in what “remains a slow-growth global environment”, a performance which, he adds, is testament “to the passion and innovative thinking” of KPMG’s professionals. “In today’s volatile business climate, our strategic investments in technology, alliances, and our people, are fuelling our growth across our geographies and service lines.”
The firm’s headcount grew by more than 8% to almost 189,000 professionals. More than 37,000 new graduates and other entry-level professionals joined KPMG member firms, and around 300 new external partners and 600 promoted KPMG partners were welcomed into the leadership ranks. Veihmeyer: “KPMG gives our high-performing recruits the foundation upon which to build an exceptional career: global Mobility assignments, collaborative working, innovative learning, a multi-disciplinary organisation and an inclusive culture.”
Looking ahead, the firm’s CEO states that KPMG is planning investments of more than $2.5 billion over the next 3 years in new services, technology, alliances and acquisitions, focused particularly on Data & Analytics and Cyber (a top priority for CEO’s globally), Digital Labour and Audit. “This will represent the largest ever investment in our network and will drive a transformation in our operating model and technological capability”, he remarks.
Across the Big Four landscape, KPMG remains the smallest of the four, with Deloitte leading the pack in terms of revenues.