EY UK & Ireland reports strong growth in revenue and consultant count

08 November 2017 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read
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EY has reported encouraging growth for its operations across the British Isles, despite the economic turbulence of Brexit. The firm’s UK wing has reported combined fee income growth of 9.2% to £2.35 billion for the year ending on 30 June 2017. The professional services giant also booked double digit growth across Ireland, raising revenues there to €247 million in the same financial year.

EY saw growth across all four of its service lines in the UK over the past year. The Big Four professional services group  saw its largest growth in its transaction advisory services practice, growing 15.1% to £396 million, while assurance grew by 11.3% to £689 million, a change driven largely by increased revenues from prior year audit wins, andlikely to be further boosted by the picking up of major contracts in the area such as that of Tate and Lyle, which it won from rival PwC. Meanwhile, tax grew by 9.1% to £634 million, and financial services grew over 8%.

The firm also grew their employee base by around 4,000 people in the past year. Among them, EY’s new employees also included 1,500 student places and 130 apprenticeships. A further 4,000 employees were internally promoted, and 63 new Equity Partners were appointed by EY. Due to the improved financial performance of the firm, Partners in the UK enjoyed a bumper year, with average distributable profits per Partner hitting £677,000, an increase of 2.3% from the previous financial term. 

EY reports strong growth in revenue and consultant count across UK and Ireland

Revenue, meanwhile, has been better distributed between employees in general. The firm recently published its UK pay-gap data, with the statistics revealing that the firm’s gender pay-gap had fallen to stand at almost 20%. In line with rivals Deloitte and PwC, the accounting and advisory group also released data on its ethnicity pay gap, which shrank to 17.3%. While both are statistically higher than their competitors, EY’s Partnership model has moved toward greater representative parity.

Steve Varley, EY’s UK Chairman, commented, “This is a strong performance, particularly in an environment where Brexit and other geopolitical events have added a new dimension to doing business in the UK. We’ve seen growth across all of our service lines, sectors and our main offices across the UK.” Adding to this, Varley said that in spite of this uncertainty, the future looks bright for EY, stating, “2017 has been a tough economic environment to navigate and I am pleased that in the UK we have continued with our long term strategy to invest which has helped us achieve this year’s market leading growth.”

Beyond Britain 

Meanwhile, in Ireland, EY reported even stronger growth, booking double-digit increases for the fourth consecutive year. The global firm’s Irish arm booked revenues of €247 million in the year to the end of June 2017. As with its UK presence, staff numbers also rose, having jumped up by 38% – including the recent intake of some 248 graduates – since 2015 by the firm’s reckoning, while revenues at EY Ireland are now significantly above boom levels according to the country’s Managing Partner Mike McKerr.

As the figures were released, McKerr told the Irish press, "Fee income pre-recession was close to €100 million and is well ahead of that now. In terms of staff we were looking at 1,100 then compared to 2,400 now.”

McKerr cited the firm’s steadfast commitment to growth in the region as the reason for this, stating, "We never had a redundancy programme, so we kept capacity in the business.” 

EY operates on an all-island basis, thanks to the lack of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, enabling the firm to include its significant Belfast presence in its results. However, expansion in the main body of Ireland, particularly beyond the capital of Dublin, is now particularly marked, especially in Galway, where a new team of 25 are to increase to between 75 and 100 staff, as well as in Cork and Waterford, according to McKerr.

In terms of the global consulting industry, EY is the globe's third largest consulting firm. PwC is, together with Strategy&, the biggest player, having experienced a revenue growth of 5% to hit a total consulting revenue of $15.9 billion in 2016. However, with revenues of $14.5 billion, EY booked the highest growth of the Big Four in the sector. As the firm continues to invest heavily in its strategy outfit Parthenon-EY, a boost of 11% to total revenues saw the consultancy make significant ground on its competitors. Parthenon-EY recently acquired OC&C's operations in Benelux and France as the firm bids to continue to up global growth inorganically.