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PwC Earns Record Revenue of $42.4 Billion In FY 2019, Is Still the First Loser

Another Big 4 accounting firm has touted that it made more money in fiscal year 2019 than ever before. First, it was EY. Then it was Deloitte. Now today, PwC sent out its own masturbatory congratulatory press release, saying it achieved a record $42.4 billion in global revenue for the year ending June 30.

That’s a 4.3% increase over last year’s $41.3 billion (restated to $40.7 billion), or a 7% increase in local currency terms, which Big 4 firms love to use because it makes their growth seem so much bigger than it really was.

And for the fourth consecutive year, PwC will finish in second place behind Deloitte in the race for Big 4 global revenue supremacy.

The Americas region once again pulled in the most revenue for P. Dubs with $17.8 billion, almost 5% more than 2018, followed by Western Europe with $14.1 billion. The fastest-growing region was Asia, which had a 7.5% increase in revenue in 2019.

Of PwC’s core business lines, assurance made the most money with $17.4 billion, but advisory grew the most by nearly 8% over last year. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Assurance: $17.4 billion (2%)
  • Advisory: $14.4 billion (7.9%)
  • Tax and legal services: $10.7 billion (3.7%)

But the big thing PwC wants you to take away from its revenue press release is the “New World, New Skills” initiative it launched today, where the firm said it’s investing $3 billion over the next four years toward upskilling, “primarily in training our people but also in developing and sharing technologies to support clients and communities.”

PwC Global Chairman and Adrienne’s public accounting crush Bob Moritz said:

“The skills gap is an issue that goes to the heart of our purpose and we have the scale and experience to make a measurable impact. That’s why today we are launching ‘New world, New skills’ –  a commitment to tackle this important problem for our people, our clients and the communities in which we operate.”

The press release goes on to say:

Upskilling all of PwC’s 276,000 people. We will roll out different programmes that meet their particular needs, from skills academies to digital fitness apps to leadership development. A proportion of our workforce will develop specialist skills in areas including data analytics, robotics process automation and artificial intelligence for use in their work. For others, it’s about understanding the potential of new technologies so they can advise clients, communities, and other stakeholders.

Kudos to PwC and all that, but the skills gap in public accounting isn’t new. So why hasn’t a multibillion accounting firm like PwC already been investing that amount of money in its employees to give them a better chance of career success? Shouldn’t this been done years ago?

Speaking of employees, PwC’s headcount grew 10% over last year to $276,005 people. And PwC noted that 21% of its partners are women, up from 13% in 2006.

The FY 2019 Big 4 revenue scorecard currently looks like this:

  1. Deloitte ($46.2 billion)
  2. PwC ($42.4 billion)
  3. EY ($36.4 billion)
  4. KPMG (?)

KPMG will release its global revenue results in mid-December, but it’s a certainty that the House of Klynveld will be cellar-dwellers once again.