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PwC Scotland passes headcount milestone as revenue increases

Posted: 16th September 2019

PwC now employs more than 1,000 people in Scotland, helped by a 13.4% increase in graduate recruitment numbers this summer.

As part of a major push across the UK, the firm now employs more than 10,000 staff outside London and is planning to invest £140 million in the year ahead in people, quality, training, technology and upskilling.

The jobs boost comes as PwC UK experienced higher than expected growth over its financial year as clients seek help tackling uncertainty, risk and the need to transform. Revenue for the year ended 30 June 2019 by 12% to £4.23 billion.

The majority of the firms’ staff in Scotland are based between Edinburgh and Glasgow, employing  524 and 405 respectively, with a further 120 based in Aberdeen.

The graduate intake, which this year totals almost 100, will start their careers with the professional services firm this month, across all  three Scottish offices, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen – which is also home to PwC’s Oil & Gas Centre of Excellence.

Across PwC UK’s business divisions, Assurance revenues increased by 8.1%, Consulting revenues were up by 22.1%, Deals grew by 8.7%, and the Tax practice, which includes specialist areas such as workforce consulting, legal services and pensions experienced growth of 13.5%. The Middle East practice also grew by 19.1%.

In Scotland, growth was concentrated on areas of key focus for the firm, including private business and international markets.

In its Deals business, revenue growth was in line with the UK overall, highlights included supporting Shell, SSE and Wood Group on disposal activity in the energy space,the listing of Nucleus plc and the disposal of Alliance Trust savings in the financial services sector.

PwC’s results are published in the firm’s fifth fully digital annual report – ‘Building a Digital Future’. The report also contains details of the firm’s environmental, diversity and inclusion indicators and insights on its strategy and purpose.

Claire Reid, Regional Leader for PwC in Scotland, commented:

“Reaching a headcount of 1,000 in Scotland marks a real milestone for PwC, and with so many new graduates joining a number of experienced hires, we are in a strong position going into our 2020 financial year.

“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.

“It is particularly pleasing to see revenue growth in areas where we see potential for expansion, such as in private business and international markets.”

Kevin Ellis, PwC Chairman and Senior Partner, said:

“At a time of considerable uncertainty, PwC continues to make a significant contribution to the UK economy. Professional and business services is the fastest growing sector in the economy, accounting for 11% of UK GDP, and the largest contributor to services exports. Maintaining this position for the UK and our business is critical.  However, businesses must also prove they can deliver more than just good economic returns, which is why I am proud of the continued investment our business is making to address the UK’s skills gap and in helping equip organisations and society for the fourth industrial revolution. We have intentionally shifted gear to make a bigger contribution to addressing the UK’s social mobility challenge by creating more job opportunities in less prosperous parts of the UK and by redoubling our efforts to become a top social mobility employer.

“We experienced high demand for our core services and, in particular, for technology-related solutions. Against a challenging political and economic backdrop our performance reflects our commitment to delivering for our clients and making continual investment in our people and our business.

“We remain optimistic about the UK post-Brexit and are keen to play our role in ensuring people from a diverse range of backgrounds can contribute to the UK’s success. Clearly, there are risks associated with the UK’s planned exit from the EU. Significant work has gone into ensuring we have the necessary resilience in our own business and the right expertise to support our clients. We are committed to creating quality jobs across the UK and working with corporate Britain, government and education providers to ensure we’re building a strong digital future across the UK.”

Tech talks

As the fourth Industrial Revolution makes an impact on business, clients sought our support to transform their businesses, with 21% of UK revenues this year coming from technology-related service such as cyber, data and digital services.

In response to the growing demand for digital services, PwC recently signed a partnership agreement with digital skills academy CodeClan to gain access to graduates from its full-time courses. In addition, the firm’s Data Science Graduate Apprenticeship is set to welcome its second cohort to the University of Edinburgh.

Claire Reid said:

“We are investing in our future and Scotland’s future workforce. It is critical that as digital technology continues to play a significant role in business we are at the forefront of that development, putting technology at the centre of what we provide to our clients. Today PwC is much more than just being viewed as accountants, whether that be cyber security, data analytics or operational resilience.

“By combining business and industry insight with technology solutions we are delivering greater efficiency and value for our clients as we help them adapt to what is an increasingly complex world to operate in.”

Kevin Ellis added:

“Our strategic investments in key technologies, as well as learning and development programmes such as our ‘tech for all’ digital programme, have accelerated our transformation and we have grown our strategic technology alliances.  Through the adoption of Cloud-based tools like Google, Salesforce and Workday and our AI and automation processes we have transformed our own business.

“We are using these technology tools not only to change how we are working and delivering for our clients but also to bring our own implementation experience to client projects. Investment in innovation, technology and upskilling our workforce remain key priorities and we plan to invest a further £140m this year, including £30m in audit quality.”

Future of Audit

Throughout 2019, PwC has invested in a major project assessing the current role of auditors and how this role must change. Kevin Ellis commented:

“We have responded constructively to the multiple regulatory reviews into the audit profession.  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. We are committed to playing our part in building trust and confidence in the sector.

“We rolled out our wide-ranging Programme to Enhance Audit Quality in which we are recruiting an additional 500 people, further investing in training and technology, and have commissioned an independent paper on the culture of challenge in audit from professor Karthik Ramanna.  We were disappointed with this year’s FRC Audit quality results and supporting our teams to deliver high quality audits consistently is the primary objective for our Audit business.

2019 Financial highlights:

  • Revenue by business division:
Business area 2019 revenue Growth v 2018 2018 revenue
Assurance £1,442m +8.1% £1,334m
Consulting £950m +22.1% £778m
Deals £773m +8.7% £711m
Tax £1,068m +13.5% £941m

 

  • Profit was £1,016m (up from £935m in 2018) and the average distributable profit per partner before tax was £765,000 (up from £712,000 in 2018).
  • The firm’s total tax contribution was £1,265m (up from £1,182m in 2018) and consisted of £760m in taxes collected and £505m in taxes borne.
  • The effective UK tax rate for partners was 48% (2018: 48%).

 

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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