However, the gap between the smallest of the Big Four and its three fellow competitors is growing. In 2017 the world’s largest accountancy firms saw their fee income rise at a faster rate.
The largest, Deloitte, reported revenues up 7.1% to $38.8bn, followed by PwC up 7% to $37.7bn and EY up 7.8% to $31.4bn.
KPMG says that all three service lines – tax, audit and advisory – grew strongly over the year. Audit was the weakest performer. Its revenues rose to $10.39bn (up 3.1%). The firm says it won a number of significant audit appointments, particularly in Europe on the back of the EU audit reforms.
Tax grew by 5.9% to $5.83bn, a rise that was driven by tax compliance services and international and M&A related services.
Advisory rose by 6% to $10.18bn. The firm says that its clients are increasingly demanding “expertise and deep industry knowledge” to help them better manage their risks and develop their growth strategy
The star performer in advisory was China, which reported revenues up 29%, while the Asia Pacific area generally experienced a good year with fee income up 15%.
Indeed Asia Pacific was the best performer overall with combined fee income up 8.1% to $4.42bn. EMA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) was the weakest at 4% and the Americas grew by 4.4%.
Commenting on the results, new KPMG International chairman Bill Thomas said, “The KPMG network grew strongly while continuing to transform to meet the rapidly changing demands of clients.
“We are making significant, strategic investments across audit, tax and advisory in technology and innovative services where clients are facing their greatest challenges and disruption. As an example, KPMG firms have built leading positions in cyber security, data & analytics and digital transformation services, bringing together leading edge technology with world-class business expertise to offer a higher level of capabilities to clients in these critical areas.”
The firm said it had invested more than $1bn over the year in a multi-year programme focused on new technology, innovation and developing new services and solutions.
Over the year, KPMG saw its global workforce grow by 4% to a record 197,263 people, 47% of whom are women. It took on more than 37,000 new graduates and entry-level professionals, promoted 450 people to partner in its 10 largest countries and hired 250 external people at partner level.