Growth in Asia drives record $41.3 billion revenues for PwC in 2018

03 October 2018 4 min. read
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PwC has posted record revenues of $41.3 billion for 2018 – driven by remarkable growth in Asia of 15%.

As the third of the Big Four firms to report over the past fortnight, PwC has posted record-breaking revenues of $41.3 billion for its 2018 financial year – marking 21 years on consecutive growth. The achievement follows the record revenues of $34.8 billion recently reported by EY, and the staggering $43.2 billion in record revenues announced shortly after by Deloitte, and is likewise driven by growth in the Asian region – for PwC, a rise of 15 percent on last year.

Altogether, the firm grew by 7% (and 10% in US currency terms) to break the $40 billion barrier for the first time – up on last year’s revenue figures of $37.7 billion – to keep pressure on Deloitte at the top of the table, a spot PwC relinquished in 2016. Growth was achieved across all PwC divisions – assurance, tax & legal, and advisory – with a relatively even revenue spread led by a 10% rise in advisory revenues.

As a break-down by segment, PwC’s assurance practice remains the firm’s greatest money-spinner, contributing over $17 billion to the final tally, while its advisory line has now grown to a worth of nearly $14 billion with tax & legal chipping in over $10 billion at growth of 8 percent – the two service lines capturing an ever greater slice of the revenue pie thanks in part to high digital-era demand for the firm’s integrated strategy, management and technology consulting services.PwC revenue by service line 2018“Technology is redefining PwC and the quality and relevance of the services we provide, just as it is reshaping the world of business,” PwC Global Chairman Bob Moritz said with the release of the annual report. “Across our network we are fully focused on implementing the best technology ideas for our stakeholders. By 2019 we will have invested over US$1 billion enabling our business in the Cloud, helping maximise the quality and impact of our services and solutions.”

According to the firm, PwC’s advisory line experienced particularly strong demand from the financial services, consumer markets, private equity, technology, and media and telecoms sectors, with financial services clients the largest contributors to the firm’s overall revenues (in excess of $10 billion), followed by industrial manufacturing & automotive and consumer markets (~$6.5 billion apiece), and those in the technology, communications and media sector (~$5.5 billion).

By region, Asia was the firm’s standout growth market, with exceptional growth of above 15% and a more than $5.6 billion take well ahead of the next closest emerging markets of the Middle East and Africa (12% growth and ~$1.5 billion in revenue) and Central and Eastern Europe (10.3% growth and ~$920 million). Still, the Americas and Western Europe continue to account for more than three quarters of PwC’s global revenue, pulling in $31 billion combined.

“Demand for our services continues to grow across all regions and industries, which is testament to the quality of our work, and the investment we have made in anticipating the changing needs of our stakeholders with the introduction of new and enhanced services,” said Carol Sawdye, PwC’s Global Chief Operating Officer. “We continue to make strategic acquisitions in key areas of growth, especially blockchain and data analytics and to invest in new technologies including artificial intelligence and robotics, as we work to increase the effectiveness of our core services.”Aggregated revenues of PwC firms by service line 2018

In line with the impressive revenue gains in Asia, the region also witnessed the largest growth in headcount over the past year, up by a huge 14%, with the firm’s staff numbers growing globally by 6% to now more than 250,000 employees worldwide – including close to 65,000 fresh faces last year. PwC also admitted a record number of partners over the past year (739), with Freddy Wee, Chintan Ganatra and Michael Peer, and Shaun Ryan, Martijn Schouten and Simon Tong among the latest crop to become partners in the firm’s consulting division in Southeast Asia.

“This impressive growth is due to our focus on the marketplace and the hard work, professionalism and dedication of our 250,000 people who continue to develop and innovate to meet the changing needs of our stakeholders around the world,” Moritz concluded. “In addition, everything we do is guided by our focus on quality and our purpose to build trust in society and solve important problems.”

With KPMG to report next year, and the firm expected to maintain its own growth trajectory, the Big Four firms combined now pull in staggering global revenues nudging the $150 billion mark – equivalent to approximately half the GDP of Singapore. And, with a combined total workforce closing in on a million employees worldwide – driven by their status as among the globe’s most attractive employers – the Big Four quartet is now also home to a headcount equaling nearly one fifth of Singapore’s entire population.