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November 29, 2009

Grant Thornton UK revenue slides

Grant Thornton UK’s annual revenue
has dropped 4 percent to £378 million ($635 million) in the year to
30 June 2009.

Despite the slight decrease in revenue, Grant
Thornton chief executive Scott Barnes said he was pleased the
firm’s results held up reasonably well in a market ravaged by
recession.

“Overall our performance has been encouraging
and provides a sound base for future growth,” Barnes said. “It is a
sign of our confidence that we have taken on 177 new trainees this
year when other firms have cut back drastically on recruitment
programmes.”

Grant Thornton said its 2007 merger with
Robson Rhodes had an impact on revenue as the costs of the
restructure were filtered in 2008-2009 results.

These restructure costs also partly led to a
drop in profit per partner of 19 percent to £201,000. As part of
the restructure, the firm reduced partner numbers from 286 to 235
and in the past year about 200 staff left.

Audit services grew by 3 percent to £121
million. However, corporate finance dropped 33 percent to £44
million and the firm said this had a knock-on effect in
transactional tax services, leading to a 5 percent drop in tax
revenue.

The service line that grew the most was
forensic services, up 13 percent to £17 million, followed by
recovery and reorganisation services, which grew 11 percent to £75
million.

Barnes said over the next three years his goal
is to double Grant Thornton’s profitability by providing
distinctive client service and focusing on its four core
markets.

“Our first-quarter results in the current
[fiscal] year show we are well ahead of target,” he said.

This month, rival firm BDO suffered a 5
percent slump in revenue to £335 million in the year to 31 July
2009.

The firm noted revenue was down in audit, tax
and corporate finance while restructuring displayed strong growth.
BDO shed about 250 jobs in the UK, a sign UK firms are far from
immune to the recession.

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