PwC hails Scottish staff milestone as profits break £1bn

PwC regional leader for Scotland Claire Reid: 'There continues to be a high demand for our core services across Scotland, in particular for technology-related solutions.' Picture: Peter Devlin
PwC regional leader for Scotland Claire Reid: 'There continues to be a high demand for our core services across Scotland, in particular for technology-related solutions.' Picture: Peter Devlin
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PwC has hailed a Scottish headcount landmark as it unveiled a rise in full-year revenues and profits.

The Big Four accountancy firm now employs more than 1,000 people across its operations in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, with staff numbers driven by a 13.4 per cent increase in graduate recruitment this summer.

The milestone comes as PwC UK reported higher-than-expected growth for the year to 30 June, as revenues jumped 12 per cent to £4.2 billion. The group attributed this to growing demand from clients seeking to tackle uncertainty, risk and “the need to transform” in the current political climate.

Profits hit £1bn, rising from £935m in 2018, while the average partner profit before tax rose 7.4 per cent to £765,000, despite the firm receiving criticism from the regulator for its audit practices.

In Scotland, growth was concentrated in core areas such as private business and international markets.

Highlights for its Scottish deals arm included supporting energy and utility giants Shell, SSE and Wood on disposal activity, the listing of Edinburgh fintech Nucleus and the disposal of Alliance Trust savings in the financial services sector.

Claire Reid, who in July was appointed the company’s first female regional leader for Scotland, said: “There continues to be a high demand for our core services across Scotland, in particular for technology-related solutions.

“Against a challenging political and economic backdrop which continues to be dominated by Brexit our performance reflects our commitment to delivering for and supporting our clients and making continual investment in our people and our business.”

PwC has more than 10,000 staff outside London as part of a major push across its regional offices and plans to invest £140m in the current financial year to upskill its team.

The group, which was rapped by the Financial Reporting Council earlier this year over a decline in the quality of its audit work, said it had “responded constructively” to regulatory reviews.

Chairman and senior partner Kevin Ellis added: “Our Future of Audit initiative which launched in November 2018 saw us engage with hundreds of stakeholders on how they believe the audit needs to evolve.

“We welcome more choice in the market and reforms that will improve audit quality.”

Across its UK divisions, turnover increased by 8.1 per cent in assurance, 22.1 per cent in consulting, 8.7 per cent in deals, and 13.5 per cent in its tax practice.

UK-wide revenues from technology-related services such as cyber, data and digital were up 21 per cent year-on-year. In response to a growing demand for its digital offering, PwC recently signed a partnership agreement with Edinburgh digital skills academy CodeClan to gain access to graduates from its full-time courses.