Deloitte partners receive bumper payday despite audit quality criticism

Partners at accountancy giant Deloitte are set for a pay hike this year, despite heavy scrutiny over the quality of its audit work.

The firm’s partners will receive their biggest payday in a decade after their total pay-out rose by 6% on last year.

Deloitte’s 669 equity partners are to be handed an average profit share of £882,000 for the year to May 31, up from £832,000 over the same period last year.

The company said it benefited from a one-off gain following the sale of an investment, declining provisioning charges and currency gains.

Distributable pre-tax profits grew to £617 million for the year as it was buoyed by the weakness in the pound.

Deloitte said UK revenues, which also included fees from its Swiss division, jumped 10.9% to £3.97 billion.

The firm’s audit and risk advisory division saw revenues rise 8.1% to £1.1 billion, while its consulting revenues rose 9% to £952 million.

Meanwhile, financial advisory revenues increased 10.5% to £507 million while tax and legal reported a 17.8% revenue increase to £862 million.

The company said it benefited over the year from investment outside of London and “long-term investment in audit quality”.

However, the Big Four UK audit firms have all come under significant scrutiny following a number of high-profile collapses and issues with company accounts.

The Financial Reporting Council said the quality of Deloitte’s auditing for FTSE 350 firms this year declined from its quality inspection in 2018.

In December, the competition watchdog proposed a radical overhaul of the UK audit market, which included splitting the audit and consulting arms of the Big Four, in order to improve quality.

Richard Houston, UK and North and South Europe chief executive, said: “Our clients and our own profession are facing a time of substantial change, challenge and opportunity with slowing economic growth, ongoing political uncertainty and the impact of technology disruption.

“Our 2019 results reflect the long-term investment we have been making across our business and, in particular, in audit quality and the training, technology and talent required to support it.

“This investment has helped us succeed in the market and improved the financial performance of our audit business.”

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