Accountancy group KPMG saw revenues fall as the pandemic took its toll on the UK business community.
The Big Four group has published results for the year ending September 30 2020 which reveal that its revenue decreased by 4% to £2.3bn. The fall was impacted by the disposal of its pensions business but like-for-like sales still dropped by 2% after slumps in its tax, consulting and deals divisions.
Underlying profit decreased by 6% to £288m and average partner distribution decreased by 11% to £572,000 as the firm attempted to protect jobs. Only the company’s audit division saw growth during the year.
Bill Michael, senior partner and chair of KPMG in the UK, said: “This has been an extraordinary year. Throughout the pandemic our priority has been to protect the wellbeing of our people and maintain the long-term resilience of our firm. We have achieved that.
“Over the past year, our people have risen to the challenge in the face of adversity to help clients. They have continued to support each other, and our communities when they have needed us most. I am incredibly proud of their efforts.
“We started the financial year strongly, recording high single digit growth prior to the onset of the pandemic. Like many businesses, our performance was then impacted by Covid-19. However, thanks to the hard work of our people, our business has remained resilient and our financial performance robust.
“As we look ahead, we have started our new financial year strongly. Our first quarter’s performance has been positive and our sales pipeline is strong. The M&A market has resurged, and clients are resuming discretionary projects as they adapt to the changes the pandemic has brought both to their business and market.
“We have an important role to play to help our clients recover from the aftermath of this health crisis and rebuild their businesses for growth.”
KPMG said it had moved successfully to remote working at the start of the pandemic and had allowed staff to take unlimited paid leave to care for family and friends affected by Covid. It did not access the furlough scheme or other Government support packages.
It said it was now preparing for “a future of hybrid working” and would be investing £44m during 2021 to change its offices and provide new technology for homeworking. The office programme would prioritise meetings, presentations and informal contact for staff and clients, it said.
KPMG, which celebrated its 150th anniversary during 2020, said it had made strides in reducing its gender pay gap and was also working to improve diversity in the areas of ethnicity and sexuality.