Fee income soars by 16% at top four accountancy firms

Numbers employed by KPMG, PwC, EY and Deloitte also increase by 12% last year

Fee income among Ireland's top four accountancy firms rose by 16 per cent last year, new figures compiled by The Irish Times' business database Top1000.ie show.

In total, the four firms generated €1.14 billion in fees in 2015, up 16 per cent on the €993.3 million earned in 2014.

Employment at the so-called Big 4 also increased, rising by by 12 per cent to 9,696.

Profitability among the firms – KPMG, PwC, Deloitte and EY – is not known, as partnerships are not required to disclose their financial information.


Ryanair auditor KPMG saw its fee income grow by 10 per cent, up to €329 million, on the back of strong growth across its three functions. Advisory services and tax were the strongest drivers of growth, with income up by 11 per cent in both functions to €110 million and € 112 million, respectively.

While the firm may have recently lost the lucrative audit contract for ESB, it still reported steady growth for 2015, with audit income up by 7 per cent to €107 million. KPMG also grew its employee numbers by 21 per cent to 2,416.

Government formation

“Continued economic growth has provided opportunities for Irish-based businesses to expand their operations,” KPMG managing partner

Shaun Murphy

said. However, he also said that while “Ireland’s underlying prospects remain positive”, there were some risks on the horizon.

“The risk of Brexit creates some uncertainty and has contributed to some softening in business sentiment,” he said. “The formation of a government as soon as possible would be widely welcomed by the business community and beyond.”

According to its transparency report for 2015, PwC Ireland’s fee income rose by 7 per cent to €246 million, with audit accounting for about half of all revenues, at € 121 million. Tax rose by 7 per cent to €79 million, while advisory rose by 12 per cent to €46 million.

On an all-island basis, PwC said revenues rose to €374 million, up from €329 million previously. Employee numbers rose by 8.5 per cent to 3,302 and PwC said it was committed to hiring 600 more staff in 2016.

Revenues at Deloitte, which counts AIB and Microsoft among its clients, rose above the €200 million mark for the first time, according to figures published in advance of its transparency report for 2015.

The 22 per cent surge to €220 million was powered by soaring growth in its consulting and advisory services division. Revenues in this division rose by 43 per cent to €99 million, with more muted, but still strong growth of 8 per cent and 11 per cent reported for audit and tax, respectively.

On an all-island basis, Deloitte said its figures rose by 28 per cent to €255.9 million. Deloitte now employs 2,250 people, up by 12.5 per cent on 2014.

Strong growth

EY, formerly


& Young, saw revenues rise by 14 per cent to €189.8 million. The firm, which counts




among its audit clients, saw its audit/assurance division grow its fee income by 15.6 per cent to €131.7 million on the back of strong growth for data analytics and fraud investigation and dispute services (FIDS). Employee numbers rose by 8 per cent to 1,728.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times