PwC reclaims world's largest accountant title

PwC has regained its cherished position as the world's biggest accountancy and consulting firm, as companies splashed out on the latter despite fears of glum times to come in the world's economy.

The firm reported a 10 per cent rise in gross revenues to $29.2bn (£18.8bn) for its worldwide network of firms for the fiscal year ended 30 June.

That saw the firm once again in front of rival Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, by $400m. Last year the latter held the edge, but only by $9m.

The revenue growth produced by PwC, formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers, is the best by its network since 2008. But with businesses seeking advice, particularly on cost cutting at a time of global uncertainty but also on deals and new technology, all of the big four accountancy firms have had a good year.

Fellow "big four" member Ernst & Young also hailed 2011 as more than pleasing yesterday when it reported global revenues of $22.9bn, up 8 per cent. Its head count has surged by 11,000 to 152,000.

PwC, with 169,000 members of staff, said it planned to hire a record 20,000 graduates worldwide in fiscal 2012 and offer training internships to 10,000 students.

With concern mounting over the paucity of opportunities for young people in Britain, E&Y will say it plans to offer a new scheme aimed at school leavers, enabling them to bypass university – with its fees for a three-year course in England of £27,000, before living expenses – and earn right away while training for qualifications.