PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) remains the highest earning global
accountancy network despite a significant slowdown in its assurance
service line. PwC reported strong growth across emerging markets
but much more modest growth in North America and the Caribbean
regions.

The network revealed the combined gross revenues of firms grew 8
percent before exchange rate effects to $28.2 billion for the
fiscal year ended 30 June 2008. Growth in US dollars, as
illustrated in the table (below), was 14 percent.

PwC reported strong revenue growth of 14 percent to $6.9 billion
in advisory services. The network’s tax business also increased
revenues by a healthy 13 percent to $7.5 billion. However, the
firm’s assurance practice only grew 3 percent to $13.8 billion,
which is well below growth levels in previous years. The network
noted that for the first time tax and advisory services accounted
for more than half of global revenues (51 percent).

PwC’s revenue in emerging economies escalated by 21 percent.
This was driven by firms in Asia (21 percent), the Middle East and
Africa (20 percent), and Central and Eastern Europe (20 percent).
Western European member firms enjoyed steady growth of 8 percent
but North American and Caribbean firms only increased revenues by 2
percent.

In releasing the financial results, PwC also confirmed that
partners have given the green light for a global restructure,
splitting the management of the network into three regional
clusters.

PwC International chief executive Samuel DiPiazza welcomed the
endorsement, and said: “This new structure will give us the agility
and speed needed to continue our expansion in the emerging markets.
It will allow us to more closely align our strategy around the
world, further improve the integrated service we offer clients and
maintain our approach of local delivery of global services.”

On PwC’s financial results, DiPiazza said member firms continue
to lead in many markets and overall growth reflects a strategic
focus on key emerging economies – a theme that has been mirrored by
Big Four rivals.

“Despite the challenges posed by the continuing credit crunch
particularly, in developed markets, PwC’s results held up well, and
all of our lines of business and firms continue to grow,” he
added.

Earlier this year, the second-largest global network, Deloitte,
revealed it has increased revenues by 13 percent in local
currencies to $27.4 billion. There is now a revenue difference of
$600 million between the two networks, which means Deloitte has
closed the gap by $1.5 billion on PwC in the past financial year.
The last time Deloitte dislodged PwC from the top spot was in
fiscal year 2003, but PwC out-earned Deloitte a year later and has
remained the highest earning network ever since.

Aggregated revenues of firms PwC