Nexia and Baker Tilly round out top ten global accounting networks

25 February 2019 Consultancy.asia

The world’s ten largest accounting networks have all now reported for 2018 – with a few shifts in the global pecking order, despite uniform record revenues.

While the Big Four stand in an absolute league of their own – currently topped by Deloitte which for its 2018 financial year reported staggering global revenues in excess of $43 billion – the mid-tier international accounting networks continue to jockey among themselves for the leftover piece of the pie. Yet despite the Big Four’s control over half of the market, raking in nearly $150 billion between them, the mid-tier have all managed to record revenue growth over the past year.

Still, there has been some shift in the mid-bracket balance. With ongoing double-digit growth for 2018, and revenues now touching $9 billion, BDO is the clear leader of the mid-tier firms – opening a further gap on the previously fifth-placed RSM, which posted a $5.37 billion take at 5.4 percent growth, seeing the latter slip slightly behind Grant Thornton ($5.45 billion/up 9.4 percent). Interestingly, RSM’s consulting take rose 14 percent, while Grant Thornton made a 14.8 percent gain in its tax service line.

Meanwhile, Crowe continues to push in eighth place, last year achieving global revenues of $4.3 billion, up an impressive 14 percent, while being pushed in turn by ninth-placed Nexia International – which in cracking the $4 billion barrier in 2018 has now made a sizeable break on Baker Tilly in tenth. Nexia, which counts over 665 offices globally, grew by 11 percent in 2018 to just a shade over $4 billion – driven, like almost every other network, by growth in the Asia Pacific.Nexia gets break on Baker Tilly with 11 percent global growth “It is very pleasing to record another year of double digit growth and our long-term strategy of recruiting and retaining high quality firms in established and emerging world markets is clearly working,” said Nexia CEO Kevin Arnold. “This impressive increase in fee income is fantastic news and shows that Nexia’s presence around the world continues to grow providing even more opportunities for our members.”

Meanwhile, Baker Tilly has demonstrated the hotly contested nature of the accountancy market by slipping further behind in tenth, despite healthy growth of 6.5 percent and global revenues topping $3.6 billion – again, led by an 11 percent increase in the Asia Pacific. The network, which numbers 746 offices worldwide and a staff-count of 33,000, also noted that for first time in its history, tax and advisory services accounted for greater that 50 percent of total revenues.

“I am proud to see that our steady growth path has continued in 2018,” said Global CEO Ted Verkade, citing the launch of a new visual identity and the implementation of a global audit methodology as growth accelerators in the coming years, while adding; “It is our people’s commitment to building great relationships, having great conversations and embracing the opportunities that tomorrow presents, that have contributed to our continuing growth.”

However, while its closest competitor makes a break up ahead, Baker Tilly can probably relax a little in looking over its shoulder, with BDO picking up the UK arm of the 11th-placed international accounting network Moore Stephens – slicing nearly $250 million off its annual fee-take (projected at above $3 billion). The next two closest networks, with 2017 revenues of between $2.2 and $2.4 billion, are HLB and Kreston International.