KPMG expects to benefit from the Brexit vote as companies racing to draw up contingency plans turn to the Big Four accountancy giant for advice on how to protect their businesses while the UK secedes from the EU.
Speaking as KPMG UK posted a 5.6pc rise in annual revenues to almost £2.1bn, breaking the £2bn barrier for the first time, chairman Simon Collins said Brexit provided the firm with opportunities as it helps clients who are wrestling with decisions about whether to relocate or move their supply chains.
KPMG, which has about 13,100 staff in the UK, has set up a Brexit unit that advises companies on the implications of the referendum, including the potential impact on tax and immigration.
“Virtually nobody was doing any contingency planning” before the June vote, he said. “Very few people now are doing no contingency planning.”
Mr Collins, a respected veteran who was an investment banker before joining KPMG, said that “a lot of companies” will “rightly” be examining if it is “cost-effective or smart to be headquartered here”.
However, he added “that’s not the same as saying they have a plan that will be executed at some future date” and that “contingency plans can remain in a drawer”.
Despite the rise in revenues at KPMG UK, pre-tax profits for the 12 months to the end of September slid by 2.3pc to £374m as a result of investments in technology and offices made during the year.
The business had 615 partners at the start of November, and average partner pay fell to £582,000 from £623,000 last year as the firm accelerated the retirement of some of its most senior employees.
Mr Collins, who is stepping down as UK chairman after a five-year term to put himself forward as the firm’s next global chairman, was paid £1.8m, down from £2.2m a year earlier.
“This year we’ve been investing, I’m very proud of what we’ve done,” he said. “But it wasn’t the year for me to go to my partners and say I want an increase in pay.”
KPMG UK expects a successor to Mr Collins will be elected by the end of March.
Global revenues rose 8pc to $25.4bn, KPMG International said earlier this week.
Of the other Big Four firms, PwC posted a 7pc increase to $35.9bn for the year to the end of June, Deloitte reported an 8pc rise to $36.9bn, and EY’s revenues climbed 9pc to $29.6bn.
In the UK, KPMG won the audits to a number of high-profile companies in the last year, including Waitrose owner the John Lewis Partnership, insurer Standard Life, and oil services business Wood Group.
It said that all of its businesses grew during the year except for its risk consulting unit, which was hurt by the end of a number of so-called remediation projects helping banks deal with various scandals, including for mis-selling and Libor rigging.
Source: The Telegraph