Deloitte Reports Strong Growth in 2011, Yet Unable to Maintain Leadership Position

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One-of-a-kind study reveals unique insights into the world’s largest accounting firms: Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers PwC. While Deloitte’s revenues grew strongly from 2010 to 2011, it was unable to keep its top position, making PwC the 2011 leader.

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Deloitte revenues increased 8.4% from 2010 to 2011. However, PwC grew at 10%. Thus Deloitte lost its leadership position., the premier social networking forum for professionals and alumni of Accenture, Andersen, BearingPoint, Capgemini, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers PwC announced today the release of the 2011 Big Four Firms Financial Performance Analysis, providing a detailed financial and operating analysis of the performance of the four largest accounting firms in the world. The analysis shows the firms enjoyed outstanding revenue growth from 2010 to 2011 after a severe revenue decline in 2009, and stabilization in 2010, to solidify a rebound arising from the global economic slowdown. 2009 marked an abrupt reversal of five straight years of double-digit revenue growth.


Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, the global firm, reported fiscal 2011 revenues for the year ending May 31, 2011 of US$28.8 billion, a 7.7% growth in local currency terms, but an increase of 8.4% in US dollar terms from 2010 of $26.6 billion.

By service line, Consulting (Advisory) was the fastest grower at 14.4% in local currency terms; and in US dollar terms, revenue increased 14.9% from $7.5 billion in 2010 to $8.6 billion in 2011. Financial advisory growth was aided by valuation, restructuring and forensic related services, higher M&A volume and upward trend in inbound and outbound investments in emerging markets.

Audit revenue increased 3.5% against 2010 in local currency terms; in US dollar terms, Audit grew by 4.7% from $11.7 billion to $12.3 billion. Tax also rose 4.9% against 2010 in local currency terms; in US dollar terms, Tax grew by 5.2% from $5.4 billion to $5.6 billion. Financial Advisory Services revenue increased 13.8% in local currency terms, but in US dollar terms, grew by an outstanding 15.1% from $2.0 billion in 2010 to $2.3 billion in 2011.

In terms of Industry, Financial Services recorded the highest revenue growth with 13.5%, Energy and Resources grew by 8.8%, Life Sciences grew by 8.1% and Manufacturing by 7.5%.

In terms of geography, Americas increased 9.3% in local currency terms and 10.4% in US dollar terms from $13.0 billion in 2010 to $14.4 billion in 2011. Europe, Middle East and Africa revenues increased 5.2% in local currency terms and 3.2% in US dollar terms from $10.0 billion in 2010 to $10.4 billion in 2011. Asia Pacific grew 8.5% in local currency terms and 15.8% in US dollar terms from $3.6 billion in 2010 to $4.2 billion in 2011.

Asia Pacific revenues grew 15.8%, following a 9% growth, making it the fastest-growing region for the seventh consecutive year. India and Australia grew more than 25%, Deloitte China grew 8.3%. Brazil and Chile grew in excess of 20%. Deloitte United States and Canada posted exceptional growth. Middle East, Sweden, Turkey and Norway, all experienced double-digit growth.

And while this was a remarkable performance, it was unable to help maintain Deloitte’s lead over PwC to continue to be the largest Big Four firm in the world. Its 2011 revenues of $28.8 billion were behind PwC’s 2011 revenues of $29.2 billion by a good $420 million, after being ahead in 2010 by a miniscule but significant margin of $9 million or 0.03%. We had indicated in our 2009 analysis that if Deloitte’s growth rate were to exceed PwC’s growth rate only by a minimum of 0.3%, Deloitte’s 2010 revenues in US dollar terms would make it the largest among the Big Four firms. While that did occur, PwC’s sprint in 2011 put it back in solid leadership position.

And as it happened, PwC revenues grew by 1.5% and Deloitte revenues grew by 1.8% from 2009 to 2010, and that put Deloitte ahead by a very small but critical delta, which Deloitte celebrated by indicating that “Deloitte ascends to become the largest private professional services organization worldwide” while not naming PwC in its press release. In 2009, Deloitte revenues shrank less than PwC, thus narrowing, but not completely closing the gap against PwC. By showing remarkable performance in 2009, arguably one of the toughest environments in recent memory, Deloitte demonstrated that it was a strong contender for the leadership position.

This analysis may be reproduced or distributed in parts or whole, but prominent and full attribution should be given at all times to “The 2011 Big Four Firms Performance Analysis by”

Disclaimer: believes in these numbers, but does not guarantee their accuracy.

The full study can be downloaded as Adobe pdf at

A summary video is available here.

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