September 20, 2019

Which Big 4 Firm Makes More From Consulting Than Audit and Tax Combined?

Did you wake up this morning and think "gee, I really would love to know how much Big 4 firms make from consulting as share of overall revenue!" Boy, are you in luck.

A recent report called Cheques and the City by the non-partisan but totally hater-y High Pay Centre looks at the top accounting and law firms in the UK, showing how an estimated 1,370 top lawyers and accountants were paid over £1 million (about $1.6 million US) in the UK last year.

It also tells us:

  • Of the 4,500 equity partners at the firms analysed (2,726 accountants, 1,774 lawyers), average pay in 2013 stood at £700,000 for the accountants and £1,100,000 for lawyers.
  • The ‘Big 4’ accountants are responsible for auditing 96% of FTSE 350 [the FTSE is a stock index, you xenophobic patriots afraid to learn about other countries] companies. 46 FTSE 100 Finance Directors are former employees of one of the Big 4, while five of the fifteen board members of the Financial Reporting Council, responsible for regulating auditing and accounting practices, as well the development and enforcement of the UK Corporate Governance Code, previously worked for the Big 4.
  • Lawyers and accountants face a potential conflict of interest. On the one hand, they have a quasi-regulatory role, ensuring that markets can have trust and confidence in accounts and contracts. On the other, the firms they scrutinise are their biggest customers and ultimately generate the multi-million pound pay packages for senior partners.

And then there's this (amounts in millions of £):

Do you see what I see? Not only does KPMG make more on consulting than any other service but consulting makes up more than audit and tax services combined (check my math, I'm no accountant). Didn't see that one coming!

The whole report is pretty interesting but that certainly stood out as, er, noteworthy.

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