Deloittes mid-year results are another example of how the consulting market is recovering faster than expected from the COVID-19-induced recession. The strong results at Deloitte prompted the firm to effectively repay staff their entire pandemic pay cut, restore non-equity partners to full pay early and reinstate other payments to equity partners.
Rival firm Ernst & Young has also booked year-on-year revenue growth of 10 per cent for the five months to November.
Deloitte has forecast that the annual value of its partner profit units, which is how equity partners are paid, could increase by more than 10 per cent to $800 a unit if the firms performance continues at the same pace for the rest of the financial year.
The move to hybrid working has shown us that we can operate our business off a much lower cost base.
Andrew Griffiths, Deloitte chief operating officer
Partner units were worth $905 in FY19 before falling to $715 in FY20 because of the disruption to client sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In FY19, equity partners at Deloitte earned anywhere between $550,000 to almost $2 million each.
The actual value of the partner unit will not be known until the end of the 2021 financial year.
Mr Griffiths said the risk advisory business had been the standout performer in the firm against plan, and they are also the only business unit that is growing year on year”.
The firms audit and assurance business had a difficult start to the year …[because auditors] have had to deal with the additional issues caused by COVID-19 [at] their clients premises and the continued need to invest in audit quality, he said.
Deloitte is facing two class actions over its audit work on food manufacturer Freedom Foods and the collapsed engineering company Hastie.
Revenue at the firms tax and legal business was down 10 per cent on the prior year, off the back of reduced ATO activity and the general slowdown in corporate activity.
Mr Griffith said operating costs were also lower as a result of the reduction in our overall business and the pay reductions that were agreed to by our staff.
The firm asked staff to take a pay cut, which has now been effectively repaid, and shed more than 700 roles at the firm earlier in the year. Dozens of partners also left during the past year.
The move to hybrid working has shown us that we can operate our business off a much lower cost base, Mr Griffith said.
The challenge moving forward, however, will be to make sure we maintain this lower cost base and keep our cost growth well below our revenue growth in the year forward, he said.
Our ability to channel costs to those activities that best support our revenue growth over the next six to 12 months without adding to that cost base is going to be key to us restoring our profitability to pre-COVID levels in the short term.
He said utilisation, a measure of how much money staff members were generating, was in the low 70s, which was exactly where we need it to be.

You may also like