The top UK consulting firms for finance, risk & compliance

10 July 2018 Authored by Consultancy.uk

A survey among management consultants and clients of consultancies has revealed the UK’s top consulting firms for finance, risk & compliance services. Nearly thirty consulting firms have made the threshold of what divides the best from the rest, with large players Accenture, IBM Global Business Services and the Big Four being the  most lauded.

CFOs are facing a period of dramatic change, with technology rapidly altering the way in which they can organise their processes and workflows, while developments such as AI and RPA are disrupting key areas of the financial landscape. Meanwhile, as the speed of decision making accelerates, finance leaders are coming under more pressure to transition from a supportive organ to a more strategic business partner role.

Finance, risk & compliance

Three particular areas that are seeing a great deal of change are finance, risk and compliance. In finance, which spans areas from planning & budgeting and financial reporting to more operational task such as accounts payable and financial closing, leaders are being presented with improvement opportunities across the function, and are subsequently embarking on finance transformations to ramp up the maturity of their operations.

In risk domain, finance leaders are trying to keep pace with an ever evolving risk landscape, with market volatility and risk of competition growing, alongside an expanding cybersecurity risk. At the same time, executives are expected to keep ethical behaviour in line with more stringent public standards of morality – something which can make digital transformation even trickier to execute successfully.

The third area, compliance, is one field that has come under major scrutiny in recent years. This has to do with the spiralling costs of regulatory compliance, triggered by escalating corporate guidelines with roots in the financial crisis of 2008. Since then, regulators have put mountains of regulations in place, which organisations must comply with to stave off a future crisis. This is true of the financial services sector in particular, where the number of changes now stand at over 200 per day, according to one estimate, but also true in other sectors. Compliance is also on the rise as organisations themselves have put increasing emphasis on higher standards for ethical and moral conduct, alongside the rise of more cross-company and cross-industry collaboration.

In their endeavours to keep ahead of the curve in finance and risk & compliance, clients commonly turn to leading consulting firms for expertise and experience with implementing best practices. Data released by the MCA – UK’s body for management consulting industry – shows that finance consulting accounts for around 10% of UK’s £9 billion consulting industry, while risk & compliance services take in approximately 5%. Together, fee income for the two service lines amounts to nearly £1.4 billion. Looking ahead, the demand for finance, risk & compliance consultancy is set to remain high, against a backdrop of growing need for finance transformation and the heating up of the regulatory landscape, which is seeing high levels of adoption of RegTech.

The top UK consulting firms for finance, risk & compliance

The top consulting firms

In terms of sheer size, the Big Four are the largest players in the finance, risk & compliance consultancy market, and although being biggest doesn’t always translate to being best, a survey by The Financial Times and Statista found that buyers of consulting services do consider this to be the case in the UK. Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC all received an average rating of 5 stars (out of 5) for the breadth, depth and quality of their services. The four are joined by two other consultancies that received the maximum score of 5 stars: Accenture and IBM Global Business Services.

A group of five consultancies narrowly trails the top segment, with a score of 4 out of 5 stars. These are strategy consultancies McKinsey & Company (the globe’s largest strategy consultancy); Oliver Wyman, a player which is particularly strong in the financial services sector; Argon Consulting, an operations specialist; Grant Thornton, an accounting and consulting firm; and Arcadis, an engineering consultancy which specialises in the technical side of finance, risk & compliance.

The list of the UK’s top finance, risk & compliance consulting firms boasts another 18 consultancies that belong to the crème de la crème of the industry. These include financial advisory specialists Alvarez & Marsal and FTI Consulting, strategy consulting firms Bain & Company and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), European origin player BearingPoint, the Advisory arms of accounting firms BDO and RSM, and finance and risk specialists Bovill and Protiviti. Also in the high regard of clients are Capgemini Consulting, the consulting arm of Capgemini, Capco, a specialist for the financial services industry, UK-origin Baringa Partners, engineering consultancy Arup, Marsh, a sister firm of Oliver Wyman, as well as Enterprise Learning, Integration Consulting, Milliman and Promontory Financial Group.

A full overview of the top consulting firms in the UK for finance, risk & compliance consultancy services:

Accenture
Founded: 1989. Number of employees: 449,000 globally; 13,000 in the UK
Headquarter: Dublin. UK office: London.

Deloitte
Founded: 1893. Number of employees: 264,000; 15,000 in the UK
Headquarter: New York. UK office: London.

EY
Founded: 1989. Number of employees: 248,000; 12,500 in the UK
Headquarter: London. UK office: London.

IBM
Founded: 1911. Number of employees: 380,000
Headquarter: New York. UK office: Portsmouth.

KPMG
Founded: 1987. Number of employees: 189,000; 13,500 in the UK
Headquarter: Toronto. UK office: Bristol.

PwC
Founded: 1849. Number of employees: 236,000; 16,000 in the UK
Headquarter: Washington. UK office: London.

Arcadis
Founded: 1888. Number of employees: 27,000
Headquarter: Amsterdam. UK office: London.

Argon Consulting
Founded: 2001. Number of employees: 180
Headquarter: Levallois-Perret. UK office: London.

Grant Thornton
Founded: 1924. Number of employees: 51,000; 4,500 in the UK
Headquarter: Chicago. UK office: Bristol.

McKinsey & Company
Founded: 1926. Number of employees: 24,000
Headquarter: New York. UK office: London.

Oliver Wyman
Founded: 1984. Number of employees: 4,800
Headquarter: New York. UK office: London.

Alvarez & Marsal
Founded: 1983. Number of employees: 3,600
Headquarter: New York. UK office: London.

Arup
Founded: 1946. Number of employees: 13,000
Headquarter: London. UK office: London.

Bain & Company
Founded: 1973. Number of employees: 11,000
Headquarter: Boston. UK office: London.

Baringa Partners
Founded: 2000. Number of employees: 650
Headquarter: London. UK office: London.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
Founded: 1963. Number of employees: 19,000
Headquarter: Boston. UK office: London.

BDO
Founded: 1964. Number of employees: 74,000; 3,300 in the UK
Headquarter: Minsk. UK office: London.

Bearingpoint
Founded: 2002. Number of employees: 3,400
Headquarter: Amsterdam. UK office: London.

Bovill
Founded: 1999. Number of employees: 95
Headquarter: London. UK office: London.

Capco
Founded: 1998. Number of employees: 4,500
Headquarter: New York. UK office: London.

Capgemini Consulting
Founded: 1990. Number of employees: 13,000
Headquarter: Paris. UK office: Birmingham.

Enterprise Learning
Founded: 2002. Number of employees: 6
Headquarter: Haywards Heath. UK office: Haywards Heath.

FTI Consulting
Founded: 1982. Number of employees: 4,700
Headquarter: Washington. UK office: London.

Integration Consulting
Founded: 1995. Number of employees: 300
Headquarter: São Paulo. UK office: London.

Marsh
Founded: 1871. Number of employees: 30,000
Headquarter: New York. UK office: London.

Milliman
Founded: 1947. Number of employees: 3,000
Headquarter: Seattle. UK office: London.

Promontory Financial Group
Founded: 2001. Number of employees: 800
Headquarter: Washington. UK office: London.

Protiviti
Founded: 2002. Number of employees: 5,030
Headquarter: Menlo Park. UK office: London.

RSM
Founded: 1988. Number of employees: 43,000; 3,300 in the UK
Headquarter: London. UK office: London.

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