PwC grows UK revenues with Northern Ireland expanding fastest

26 September 2018 3 min. read
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The UK wing of Big Four firm PwC has pushed full-year revenues up to a £3.76 billion, building further on a record breaking 2017. Northern Ireland represents PwC’s fastest growing UK region, with the professional services firm’s Belfast office doubling its headcount during the last term.

In the year leading up to 30th June 2018, PwC’s UK revenues climbed 5% on its previous record of £3.6 billion, posted last year. PwC UK bagged a profit of £935 million this time, rising from £822 million. Across the firm's divisions, assurance revenues were buoyed by 3%, while consulting climbed by 1% and deals rose by 10% and PwC's tax practice experienced growth of 7%. PwC Partners in the UK can expect a bumper year, with the profit divisible between them before tax standing at £712,000.

Of the firm’s presences across Britain, Northern Ireland was the firm's fastest growing UK region. The Big Four firm’s Belfast office is now recognised as a global centre for technology and digital advisory services, with the city’s PwC Operate division – created to support growing demand from multinational organisations dealing with political, economic and regulatory change – bringing in annual revenues of over £40 million, largely from export markets. Clients in the division are primarily sourced from the financial services sector, alongside some working in oil and gas, utilities, retail, pharmaceuticals and the public sector.

PwC grows UK revenues with Northern Ireland expanding fastest

Commenting on the results, Ian McConnell, the PwC Northern Ireland Partner responsible for Operate, said the firm's investment in the Belfast operation was "a tribute to the availability of skilled graduates and an abundance of technology skills."

Over the course of last year, PwC Operate nearly doubled its workforce from 540 to 1,000, boosted by the launch of a flexible working network for people seeking to work for just a limited number of days a year. PwC is now understood to be planning to move its total 1,900 Belfast staff to a new combined facility in Merchant Square. The Merchant Square development at Wellington Place will be taken up after PwC leaves its existing Waterfront Plaza site, though a full agreement is reportedly yet to be signed.

At the same time, PwC is making further plans for the future in Belfast, having launched fully-funded tech and data degree apprenticeships in Queen's University Belfast and another four universities in the UK. This will give over 100 students a traditional university experience while receiving paid on-the-job training, and theoretically give PwC a key pipeline of new talent, as it competes with an increasingly crowded consulting sector for top level human resources.

PwC UK Chairman Kevin Ellis remarked, "Despite uncertainty over Brexit, all four of our business divisions grew this year, with high demand for technology-related services, including cyber, data analytics and GDPR. And 29% of the firm's revenues came from inbound - organisations headquartered outside the UK - highlighting the importance of the UK as a global business hub. Momentum in our business is good, driven by a strong deals market and demand for technology-driven business expertise, as we see organisations turn to us to help them transform their business models, many in response to digital disruption."

Related: Deloitte UK partners enjoy biggest payout in decade: £832,000 average.