A 17 per cent rise in corporate finance revenue was a key factor in the improvement, which saw gross UK fee income for 1996-97 grow 9 per cent to pounds 766m. However, the firm also reported in its annual review published yesterday a 7 per cent increase in fees from audit and accounting, a sector that has been hit by intense price competition in recent years. As auditor to 30 companies in the FTSE 100, the firm claims to have retained a clear lead over the rest of the field.
Peter Smith, chairman, attributed the firm's performance to a global reach that was "second to none" and said the organisation was focusing on market sectors and evolving its range of services.
Further evidence of the general buoyancy in the profession is seen in today's announcement by BDO Stoy Hayward, a second-tier firm specialising in advising growing businesses, of a 6.1 per cent increase in fee income. Managing partner Adrian Martin said Stoy was benefiting from "a clear focus and single-minded purpose - to continue to build the firm through providing advice to growing businesses and the people behind them".