27/08/2008 - 22:00

Top accountants expand practices

27/08/2008 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

PricewaterhouseCoopers was the fastest growing accounting firm in Western Australia during the past year, with the number of accountants up more than 22 per cent on the previous year.

Top accountants expand practices

PricewaterhouseCoopers was the fastest growing accounting firm in Western Australia during the past year, with the number of accountants up more than 22 per cent on the previous year.

According to figures compiled for WA Business News Book of Lists, PwC has grown its accounting staff to 360, compared with 294 last year, and has a total staff of 395.

PwC managing partner John O'Connor said the company's growth had been across a range of practices, particularly in tax, insurance and insolvency.

Its advisory practice was significantly boosted through the acquisition of strategic consultancy practice Gem Consulting in November 2007.

Mr O'Connor said that, even in a boom state like WA, it could be challenging for businesses not directly involved in the resource sector.

"There has been an increase in incidents of companies, even in our strong market, experiencing difficulties," he said.

"Our traditional practices continue to grow and services in our insolvency practice are also increasing at the same time, which almost suggests there's a dual-speed economy operating in WA."

Among the mid-tier firms, South Perth-based William Buck Chartered Accountants performed particularly well in the past year, more than doubling its accounting staff to 49.

Managing director Mark Collins said most of the firm's growth had been in the areas of corporate advisory, business services and Asian business consulting.

He said while the firm was able to significantly grow staff numbers, it was expecting a challenging next 12 months with increased labour costs, increased rental costs and global financial liquidity.

"The next 12 months is about staying strategically focused, making the hard decisions and not being distracted by others' insecurities," Mr Collins said.

Ernst & Young remained the top-ranked firm with 420 accounting staff, 14 per cent more than last year, with PwC at number two and KPMG at number three with 346 accounting staff, up 19 per cent.

Rounding out the top five were Deloitte with 320 accounting staff, and RSM Bird Cameron with 215.

The year was also characterised by merger activity between the mid-tier firms.

BDO merged with Howarth in March 2007 to become BDO Kendalls, with the combined group employing 153 accounting staff and ranking sixth in the Book of Lists.

In September, Bentleys MRI became part of the Grant Thornton network, with the former Grant Thornton practice becoming WHK Horwath.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options