Growth slows as KPMG closes in on $30 billion in global revenues

13 December 2019 4 min. read
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Professional services firm KPMG has recorded global revenues of $29.75 billion for its 2019 financial year – up 6.2 percent at constant rates.

A gap continues to open up between the KPMG and its Big Four rivals, with the firm announcing global revenues of $29.75 billion for its 2019 financial year ending September. While this represents 6.2 percent growth at constant rates, in fixed terms it only slightly shades the $28.96 billion take last year. In contrast, Deloitte over the past year grew its revenues by $3 billion to $46.2 billion, while PwC and Ernst & Young have also made gains in excess of $1 billion.

As a regional breakdown, the firm’s EMA geography – which consists of Europe, Africa and the Middle East together with India – saw the slowest collective growth of 4.7 percent, with revenues in fact sliding in fixed terms, down slightly to contribution of $12.89 billion. KPMG’s Americas division grew 6.6 percent to $11.72 billion, while the Asia Pacific was the firm’s best performing (albeit smallest) market, up by 9.3 percent in local terms to a total of $5.14 billion.

KPMG 2019 revenues by region

“We are pleased to have achieved strong growth during an important transitional year for KPMG as we focus on making significant investments as part of our multi-year collective strategy implementation,” said KPMG International Global Chairman and CEO Bill Thomas, with the firm having last week announced an expected five-year $5 billion investment plan into technology, people and innovation in an effort to accelerate its digital leadership and evolution.

“Technology is disrupting organisations across the globe,” Thomas, now entering his third year in the role, said in conjunction with the announcement. “Clients are turning to us like never before and trust KPMG professionals to help them implement, manage and optimise the digital transformation of their organisations. Our investment places KPMG firmly at the forefront of this digital shift and enhances our position as a digital leader in professional services."

In terms of service lines, Advisory continues to be the fastest area of growth (and now biggest money-spinner), up 7.9 percent locally for an $11.95 billion contribution, although the firm’s Tax practice wasn’t far off the pace with growth of 7.8 percent, bringing in $6.62 billion. Audit, once the Big Four’s bread and butter but as a service increasingly losing market value, brought in $11.18 billion for KPMG over the past year, equating to growth of 3.7 percent.

KPMG 2019 revenues by function

“KPMG is committed to improving quality and consistency by investing in game-changing methodologies and technology innovations,” the firm said as to its audit practice, with global head Bill O’Mara adding; “As an organisation making unprecedented investments to advance audit quality in a hyper-competitive global audit marketplace, our priority continues to be on aligning top talent with next generation technology to deliver stakeholder value and build trust.”

On the subject of talent, the firm has grown its global headcount by roughly 10,000 over the past year, to now more than 219,000 people across 147 countries and territories – with more than half of those based in its EMA region. Close to 400 partners were also added to the KPMG ranks during the past year, which now total more than 10,900, with over 30 percent of the new partners added to its largest practices (countries with revenues above $1 billion) being female.

“In a world of technology, AI, and automation, people remain our differentiating asset,” Thomas said. “I am proud of our more than 219,000 colleagues that represent the KPMG brand daily. We are committed to creating an inclusive and diverse organisation and want our culture to be one which represents the diversity of the world and is welcoming to all. I am pleased we are taking steps in the right direction, but also recognise there remains a huge amount of work to do.”