EY Australia outpaces Big Four rivals in latest financial year

13 August 2020 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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In Australia, EY has managed to outpace its three major rivals PwC, Deloitte and KPMG by a margin of at least three per cent.

In the latest financial year, EY saw its revenues grow by 12.7% to $2.13 billion. The second fastest grower of the quartet, Deloitte, managed to book 10.0% growth to $2.5 billion. Meanwhile, the smallest of the group KPMG grew its revenues by 7% to $1.9 billion, while market leader in size PwC saw its fee income remain flat at $2.6 billion. 

Commenting on the pole position in terms of growth, EY’s CEO for Oceania Tony Johnson said: “I am very proud of the firm’s performance in FY20, the result of an amazing contribution by all our people in challenging and testing times.” 

He said that the firm’s above-market performance is result of a combination of factors, including “a strong Assurance business, strong and trusted relationships with clients, investments in the consulting businesses and investments in technology across our entire business. All enabled by the expertise, effort and flexibility of our people.”

Revenue of EY Australia

Alongside organic growth, three deals lifted overall performance. In November last year, EY bought Aleron to boost its cybersecurity offering, three months after it bolted-on economics advisory Cadence. And in May this year, strategy consulting boutique Port Jackson Partners was acquired, doubling the size of EY-Parthenon in Australia. 

“These have been three strategically significant acquisitions for EY,” said Johnson. Overall revenue also benefitted from the full year of activity from the previously acquired businesses of Karrikins (focus on social impact) Adelphi Digital (digital transformation) and Plaut (IT consulting). 

Across the board, all divisions contributed to FY20 performance. Strategy and Transactions grew by 6 per cent, while Tax, including People Advisory Services and EY Law grew by 8 per cent. The firm’s Assurance practice grew by 10 per cent. Risk Advisory and Technology Consulting were the year’s star performers, growing by more than 20 per cent.

Revenue of the Big Four in Australia 2016-2020

But it is not just the finances that makes Johnson proud. During the past year, EY contributed 46,000 hours of time on pro bono and volunteering work and gave more than $1.3 million to charities and community organisations through employee giving and firm donations. “It is our ambition to deliver long-term value to our clients, people… but also make a difference in society.” 

Meanwhile, looking ahead at FY21, Johnson said the outlook is uncertain. “We’re certainly modifying downwards our growth expectations for the year,” he said, adding that the firm will also change the way it budgets due to the uncertainty around how Covid-19 will hit demand for its services. He expects the first half of FY21 (up to Christmas) to be considerably slower than the second half.

But, that doesn’t mean that EY will hold back if opportunities arise. Johnson: “While we must be appropriately cautious, we are still on the look-out for opportunities, whether they be acquisitions or people that will add value to our business – particularly in technology, strategy, law, digital and climate and sustainability services. This will further strengthen our ability to advise our clients.”