PwC grows revenues and profit during pandemic-hit year

13 August 2021 3 min. read
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PwC’s UK wing has reported that its total group profit for the last financial was boosted by 25%. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the firm saw renewed private sector demand which helped drive the expansion of its audit, deals and transformation services.

Regardless of the global coronavirus crisis and subsequent recession, a number of the world’s largest professional services brands have still come through the last two years comfortably. Such is the size and reach of Big Four firm PwC that it remains one of the globe’s most valuable brands – and still managed to record income growth in the middle of the pandemic.

The gravity of the economic slump caused by Covid-19 and its lockdowns was illustrated by PwC’s UK growth rate slumping to a narrow 3% for the financial year ending in June 2020. While that was not enough for the firm to expand its profit rate – which fell by 8% – it was a figure that the firm was well-positioned to absorb, anticipating it was going to factor into many of its clients’ recovery plans the next year.

PwC grows revenues and profit during pandemic-hit year

So it has proved. Demand for transformation advice, including finance transformation and digital and data strategies were key drivers of growth in the financial year’s second half. Reporting its annual finances for the year ending June 2021, PwC has declared a revenue growth rate of 2%, hitting £4.5 billion in fees. While this might sound like more of a slowdown, the rolling back of restrictions in the UK, and the restructuring of its use of office space, has enabled the firm to turn more of this income into profit – which grew 25% to sit at £1.2 billion.

Senior Partner and UK Chairman Kevin Ellis confirmed, “After a challenging first six months [of the 2021 financial year] where we held our nerve, made no redundancies and honoured job offers, we were well-placed to meet demand and create investment capacity as confidence in the market picked up. Like our clients, we see the pandemic recovery as a catalyst of profound change, driving increased demand for our deals, financing, digitisation, ESG and supply chain transformation services.”

Bonus boost

With the good news of its boosted profits, PwC’s UK staff and partners have also been rewarded for their hard work during the crisis. PwC handed staff a record £128 million in bonuses over the last year, jumping from £83m in 2020, and surpassing the pre-pandemic figure in 2019 too. Meanwhile, the firm grew its UK headcount over the last 12 months, adding around 3,300 people to its network, which now includes 22,000 employees.

On top of this, PwC also made notable "people-related investments" in the health and wellbeing of its staff during the 2021 financial year. This included the addition of a 24/7 virtual GP service, health centres in its offices, digital skills training and support to help staff cut their carbon footprint.

Explaining why the firm has taken this direction, a statement from PwC said, “We need an employment-led recovery in the UK that is focused not simply on a war for talent but on creating talent with the skills to address the urgent issues of socio-economic inequality, the climate crisis and the need to harness tech innovation.”