PwC Australia reported 11% revenue growth to AUD2.6bn, and double digit profit growth. All three of the firm’s businesses; assurance (11%), consulting (13%) and financial advisory (10%), comprised of tax, legal, deals, infrastructure & urban renewal and private clients, delivered strong revenue and profit growth.
PwC Australia CEO Luke Sayers said: “FY19 was the third year of our four year strategy which meant our focus was on deepening capabilities and consolidating investments rather than broadening or adding.”
The firm’s energy, utilities and resources (EUR) practice grew by 18% with financial services growing at 13% and health at 9%. The government practice was flat for the year.
Sayers said: “Our assurance business had its strongest year of growth in the past seven years, with our audit business growing by 9% and our risk assurance business achieving 18+% growth for the third year in a row.
“Profitability was also strong and in line with our consulting and financial advisory businesses. Public commentary sometimes suggests that audit engagements are being used as a loss leader for growth in other areas of the firm. This is not the case for our firm.
“We were proud to be the first firm to disclose a detailed balanced scorecard regarding the quality of our audit practice this year, including disclosing ASIC’s audit inspection result for our firm, together with a number of other measures including our own internal audit quality inspection results and restatement rates.
“Financial audits play a critical role in maintaining confidence in our capital markets and our external audit business remains critical to our Firm. Ensuring we have a balanced and accurate understanding of audit quality in Australia is an important part of this confidence and we hope our scorecard helps to progress the audit quality debate.”
On diversity and inclusion, 35% of the firm’s most recent partner admits were female, 65% were male and 22% of our new partners are from a diverse cultural background. 28% of the partnership is now female.
Commenting on the year ahead, Sayers said: “Last year we predicted that the themes of trust and confidence, customer experience, risk and governance and digital transformation would dominate board and executive team discussions and we do not see any change to these themes in the year ahead. But I would add one more and that’s growth and investment.
“Geopolitical risks remain high with Brexit still unresolved, sustained trade tensions between the US and China, and continued instability in the Middle East. Each of these issues will impact Australia’s economy and growth prospects.
“We have definitely seen some softening in the market in the last six months. What’s not clear is whether this is a temporary pause, or whether it is a more sustained slow down.”