Solid growth in Middle East and Africa helps drive record PwC revenues

05 October 2018 4 min. read
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Accounting and consulting giant PwC has achieved record revenues of $41.3 billion for its past financial year, with double-digit growth in the Middle East and Africa.

PwC has smashed the $40 billion mark for 2018 with global revenues of $41.3 billion and worldwide growth of 7 percent – remarkably, the firm’s 21st year of consecutive growth. The figures keep the pressure on Deloitte at the top of the Big Four table, a position PwC gave up in 2016, with Deloitte recently posting its own record revenues of $43.2 billion. The third of the Big Four firms to announce this month, EY, also achieved record results of $34.8 billion.

While the three accounting and consulting giants divide their operational geographies in different manners, and the Asia Pacific region is generally the hottest growth market globally to be generating significant revenues (for PwC, up 15 percent this year for a $5.6 billion take), the dynamic and maturing Middle East landscape – now worth an estimated $2.8 billion in terms of management consulting in just the GCC alone – is a prime battle ground for the consulting sector, particularly with respect to widespread national economic and digital transformations.PwC revenue by service line 2018For PwC, which includes its strategy consulting wing Strategy& (formerly long-term Middle East stalwart Booz & Co.) revenues in its Middle East and Africa region rose 12 percent on last year, bringing in a total of nearly $1.6 billion. (North America remains by far PwC’s largest market, as is the case for all of the Big Four as well as the global strategy and management players, with PwC’s America’s division generating nearly $17.5 billion alone – at a still healthy year-on-year growth rate of 4.2 percent).

As a broad comparison, Deloitte’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) division grew by 15.9 percent for a $14.5 billion revenue take (PwC’s Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe divisions brought in a collective $14.8 billion with respective growth of 6.4 and 10.3 percent), while EY’s EMEIA division – which includes India – grew at 6.9 percent for a total of $13.9 billion. KPMG, the smallest of the Big Four quartet, reported 12.7 percent growth for its Middle East and South Asia (exc. India) division in its last financial year.

Much of the growth for the Big Four in the Middle East (and globally) can be attributed to a rise in advisory demand, as the traditional auditing and accounting firms continue to broaden their presence in the digital era with the ability to capitalise on integrated end-to-end offerings and implementation services. Globally, while assurance remains PwC’s primary revenue source, bringing in $17 billion worldwide, the firm’s advisory line grew at 10 percent to contribute a nearly $14 billion to the overall tally. Its third division, tax & legal, grew at 8 percent to deliver the remaining ~$10 billion in revenues.Aggregated revenues of PwC firms by service line 2018In the words of the PwC: “We saw particularly strong growth across our Deals businesses and our Strategy, Management and Technology consulting practices which demonstrates our success in providing value to clients across strategy-through-execution.” PwC Global Chairman Bob Moritz adds; “Technology is redefining PwC and the quality and relevance of the services we provide, just as it is reshaping the world of business.”

Moritz continued; “Across our network we are fully focused on implementing the best technology ideas for our stakeholders. By 2019 we will have invested over US$1 billion enabling our business in the Cloud, helping maximise the quality and impact of our services and solutions.” According to the firm, PwC’s advisory line experienced particularly strong demand from clients in the financial services, consumer markets, private equity, technology, and media and telecoms sectors.

With KPMG expected to maintain its growth trajectory when it reports in 2019 for its own financial year to April, the combined global revenues of the Big Four are now closing in on an astonishing $150 billion, which is not far off from the GDP of Qatar. Additionally, the combined workforce of the Big Four is now close to 1 million employees, equal to two thirds of Bahrain’s total population. Over the past year, PwC has grown its global headcount by 6 percent, with in excess of 4,200 professionals now located in the Middle East.