PwC will add a thousand new forensic data scientists to its global deals department within the next two years, marking a shift in how firms respond to the rapidly changing technology landscape.
The Big Four firm plans to embed data and analytics into its $5bn international deals division, by hiring extra data-savvy recruits across its major territories over the next 18-24 months.
China, Germany, the UK and the US have been confirmed by PwC as the initial four main countries where new data scientists will be deployed.
The latest investment in staff will allow PwC to offer new services, including the use of predictive analytics to discover acquisition and divestiture opportunities, and transform the depth of due diligence processes through data visualisation.
Presently PwC’s deals department offers M&A, tax restructuring and forensic services. Globally, it is the largest firm by total revenues with more than US$35bn recorded by International Accounting Bulletin for FY14 to FY15 in the World Survey.
"Recruiters have been engaged to look at a range of skills and industry backgrounds, including data engineers, statisticians and machine learning experts, drawn from roles in analytics-heavy sectors such as technology, healthcare, and scientific academia", PwC’s global head of deals John Dwyer said.
As 100 of the data recruits are expected to be added to the UK, PwC will capitalise undoubtedly on a string of technology-based investments and partnerships it has made in the country over the last five years. This includes acquiring the assets of forensic data and security start-up Kusiri in November 2015, a London-based technology platform that specialises in fraud and compliance screening, and the high-profile acquisition of Booz & Company in 2014.
Asked how a bigger data analytics department will impact PwC’s "traditional" audit and accountings, a spokesperson for the firm said analytics is also a priority for its assurance practice, with investments in transactional risk assessment tools such as Halo already going ahead.
To drive the data- transformation, Henri Leveque, a senior partner in the US firm, was appointed head of data and analytics a year ago and has now been promoted to the global deals leadership team.
"Relationships, experience and human judgement will remain important long into the future. However, the deep insights that can be driven through the sophisticated analysis of high-volume data are playing an increasingly vital part of deal execution", Leveque concluded.