Grant Thornton hit record $5.45 billion in revenues last year

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By Reuters
Grant Thornton hit record $5.45 billion in revenues last year

<p>By Huw Jones</p> <p><span class="caps">LONDON</span> (Reuters) – Accountant Grant Thornton earned record revenues from its focus on mid-market clients in 2018 and expressed caution on Wednesday about the time it would take to overhaul auditing in Britain.</p> <p>“We have looked into where growth will come from in the world in future and we see that it’s going to be very strong growth in the dynamic mid-market. We think that is the core market where we want to focus,” Peter Bodin, chief executive of Grant Thornton International told Reuters.</p> <p>Grant Thornton’s record year came despite Britain’s accounting regulator deciding to investigate its audit of the financial statements of the owner of British cafe chain Patisserie Valerie <<span class="caps">CAKEP</span>.L>.</p> <p>The auditing firm said a combination of strong markets and acquisitions in Japan and South Africa lifted revenues by 9.4 percent to $5.45 billion (4.29 billion pounds) in its financial year ending Sept. 30, 2018, its highest rate of growth in six years.</p> <p>“There was strong growth in the mid-market in every sector as a lot of clients go global and need help to change their business models,” Bodin said.</p> <p>Bodin also cast doubt over British plans to get firms like Grant Thornton and its rivals such as <span class="caps">BDO</span> to prise open the top end of the audit market to increase choice and quality.</p> <p>He said it would need “quite a long time” to involve all stakeholders to push through reform of the British market, and in the meantime Grant Thornton would focus on its mid-market global strategy.</p> <p>Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority proposed reforms last month to loosen the grip of the “Big Four” accounting firms Deloitte, PwC, EY and <span class="caps">KPMG</span> who check the books of most top listed firms in Britain.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">CMA</span> also proposed forcing the top 350 listed companies to have joint audits, which would mean companies hiring two auditors, with Grant Thornton, <span class="caps">BDO</span> and others working alongside one of the Big Four.</p> <p>Auditing a big international firm requires more partners and investment in technology, putting smaller accountants with fewer resources at a disadvantage.</p> <p>PwC and Deloitte both have annual revenues of more than $40 billion, enabling PwC to invest a billion dollars in “Cloud” computing alone by this year.</p> <p>There has been some consolidation among the mid-sized auditors, with <span class="caps">BDO</span> set to leapfrog Grant Thornton by merging with Moore Stephens, although Bodin said this would not put pressure on his firm to find more partners.</p> <p/> <p> (Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Alexander Smith)</p>