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Deloitte reclaims its crown as world’s largest firm

Buoyed by a rapidly expanding tax practice, Deloitte has bested PwC to reclaim its crown as the world’s largest professional services firm.

It has not been a good week for PwC. Today it emerged that the firm’s Brian Cullinan was behind Sunday’s Oscars blunder in which La La Land was wrongly announced as the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture when it should have been Moonlight.

The real winner was swiftly announced after the mistake was realised and the correct envelope, showing Moonlight to be the winner, was held up for all to see. This has led to an explosion of wishful thinking memes with envelopes showing Hillary Clinton to be the real winner of November’s US election, and Remain actually winning last summer’s referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.

Unfortunately for PwC, no such envelope has been revealed to correct the news that Deloitte has overtaken it as the world’s largest professional services firm by fee income. Deloitte reclaimed its crown from PwC – which held the top spot for two years – after its fee income grew by 5% in 2016 to $36.8 billion. PwC saw 2% growth to $35.8 billion, ahead of EY, which saw growth of 3% to $26.5 billion, and KPMG, which posted 4% growth to $25.3 billion. With BDO posting $7.5 billion in fee income, despite its 4% growth, there is still no sign of a Big 5 emerging in the accountancy world.

Deloitte’s Tax & Legal business is celebrating its strong growth contributing to the firm’s return to pole position.

“The Deloitte network is very pleased to be recognised as the world’s largest professional services provider,” Dan Lange, global leader of Deloitte’s Tax & Legal business told TP Week. “Like the Deloitte organisation overall, the Tax & Legal business experienced excellent growth in fiscal year 2016, totaling $6.9 billion in global revenue, representing 10% growth over last year.”

“The global tax landscape is changing rapidly,” Lange added. “Deloitte Tax & Legal provides leadership and guidance to help clients gain confidence and make the right decisions in an uncertain environment. This recognition of market leadership showcases how Deloitte’s network-wide focus on providing high-value, technology enhanced, globally integrated tax and legal services make an impact that matters.”

When surveyed for TP Week’s World Transfer Pricing 2017, Deloitte’s clients gave glowing reviews of the firm’s work.

“My experience was very good,” said Mariana Lope, director of taxes and corporate insurance at Carrefour Argentina. “Excellent professionals and quality of work. I’d recommend them without a doubt.”

One Brazilian client, who wished to remain anonymous, rated Deloitte the best of the Big 4, as did another in Canada.

“Deloitte has been successful in understanding our tax risk management philosophy and has invested a lot of time in learning and understanding our company’s operation and policies,” said Ivan Lopez of Cargill in Mexico. “Deloitte has demonstrated interest in building a long-term relationship with us, so its services and customer satisfaction orientation have been privileged versus fees collection.”

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