Deloitte pulls away from Big Four rivals PwC, EY and KPMG

02 October 2023 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read
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While PwC and KPMG are yet to report their financial year results for 2022/23, Deloitte currently sits miles ahead of its traditional Big Four rivals after posting $65 billion in global revenues.

Professional services firm Deloitte has recorded another record revenue haul over the past financial year, growing by a further 15% (in local currency; 9% given exchange rate fluctuations) to a staggering $65 billion in takings. Notably, the number is almost exactly double the $32.4 billion sum from precisely a decade ago.

The figures follow on from the close to 20% jump recorded for 2022, with the firm now threatening to pull away from its Big Four rivals once and for all.

Deloitte pulls away from Big Four rivals PwC, EY and KPMG

“In an environment of increasing complexity and an accelerated pace of technology-driven change around the globe, Deloitte’s unrivaled breadth of expertise within our multidisciplinary model continues to differentiate us in the marketplace,” Deloitte’s global CEO Joe Ucuzoglu said of the firm’s latest results. “This is an environment that places increasing value on diversity of thought and interdisciplinary solutions, playing directly to our strengths.”

While Ucuzoglu’s ‘multidisciplinary’ comments can be read as a gentle poke at EY’s failed split bid and a message to various international regulators looking to break up the advisory giants amid a volatile global market, the fact is, the Big Four still remain individually intact and yet Deloitte has been streaking ahead of its closest traditional competitors.

In professional services terms, Accenture and Deloitte are probably more deserving of a duelling nickname of their own.

To put the figures in perspective, it was only in 2016, after a few years of jostling, when Deloitte reclaimed the Big Four crown from PwC, with revenues of $36.8 billion against $35.9 billion. Two years later, in 2018, the gap had widened by about $1 billion.

But now, if PwC doesn’t maintain its double digit growth rate from last year, the firm could be looking at a seemingly insurmountable $10 billion chasm to its closest rival, established for the most part in the space of only six years.

Deloitte pulls away from Big Four rivals PwC, EY and KPMG

As for the other members of the Big Four: EY, despite trying to pull out of the race entirely, has recorded 2023 revenues a fraction short of $50 billion, describing its 14.2 percent growth – which was still less than that of Deloitte’s – as one of its best years in the past two decades. Meanwhile, KPMG (almost) proudly passed the $35 billion mark last year – still shy of Deloitte and PwC earnings when they were competing for the top spot back in 2016.

The Big Four moniker dates back to the collapse of Arthur Andersen in 2002, leaving the quartet as the world’s four largest accounting and advisory networks (although in total dollar terms, KPMG now sits closer to the mid-tier of BDO et al. in revenue than it does Deloitte). Yet, much has changed in the consulting realm over the past two decades, including as to the various consulting divisions within the Big Four. That period has also seen the rise of Accenture.

Accenture versus Deloitte

Having split from Andersen in 2000 and later rebadged from Andersen Consulting, Accenture’s ascent to the top of the professional services chain has been as meteoric as Deloitte’s – indeed even moreso. While Deloitte has neatly doubled its revenues over the past decade, Accenture has grown from a $28.6 billion business in 2013 to a $61.6 billion one last year, and will almost certainly stay ahead of Deloitte when it reports later this month.

The success of the pair – which together employ some 1.2 million people around the world – can in part be put down to an earlier tilt toward tech consulting in an era of digital revolution. While increasingly the case for all of the Big Four, Deloitte’s consulting business has for some time outstripped its audit & assurance and tax lines, last year bringing in almost $30 billion alone. As a comparison, audit, its once largest division, brought in just $12 billion.