PwC remains the largest of the Big Four in Australia

27 August 2021 2 min. read
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PwC has retained – and even expanded – its position as Australia’s largest Big Four accounting and consulting firm.

For over a decade already, PwC has been the Big Four leader in Australia, and going into the 2021/22 financial year (the Big Four operate with mid-year financial years), this will be no different. Despite remarkable growth during a pandemic-hit year from the numbers three and four in the market, EY (+9%) and KPMG (+6%), PwC actually saw its lead versus number two widen, with Deloitte taking at 7% revenue hit in the past financial year.

Combined, the quartet of PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG currently generate over AU$9 billion in revenues. In comparison, five years ago that number was under AU$6.5 billion, with each of the professional services giant growing their revenues in this period at a rate of more than 35%.

Revenue of Big Four in Australia

At all four players, consulting has been the strongest grower over the past years, on the back of heightened demand for services including business model transformation, systems implementation, digitisation and cybersecurity. This has led the Big Four to become more consulting than accounting minded firms, with the consultancy business of for instance EY and KPMG now (significantly) larger than the Assurance practice.

An aggressive M&A campaign has been a major driver of consulting growth. Deloitte is the most active buyer, with eight deals under its belt since the start of 2020, while KPMG and EY each closed two deals in this period. Of these twelve transactions, EY closed the most notable deal, acquiring local strategy consulting house Port Jackson Partners (now part of EY-Parthenon). PwC hasn’t acquired a company in Australia for years.

Three of the Big Four players in Australia have meanwhile this year seen a new leader take charge. At KPMG, Andrew Yates succeeded eight-year incumbent Gary Wingrove as CEO, at EY David Larocca succeeded 34-year company veteran Tony Johnson, while at Deloitte consultant Adam Powick has taken the reins from former chief executive officer Richard Deutsch. PwC is led by Tom Seymour, since the summer of last year.

Looking ahead, the CEOs of the Big Four have all announced a positive outlook for the current 2021/22 financial year, on the back of a recovering economy and major expected investments from companies and government as they future-fit their strategies, operations, people and assets to the post-pandemic era.