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PKF discloses results to show 38% increase

Pannell Kerr Forster, the medium-sized accountancy firm, yesterday became the latest accountancy firm to break with tradition and publish its results. It reported that net profit increased 38 per cent to pounds 15.6m on turnover up from pounds 71.4m to pounds 73.4m.

Managing partner John Wosner, who was one of five partners who earned between pounds 300,000 and pounds 350,000 in the year to the end of April 1996, said the decision to publish was a result of "disclosure becoming an issue of public interest". He said increasing question marks over the financial viability of second-tier firms had also been a factor.

Mr Wosner, who took over leadership of the firm two years ago, said the improved figures were a result of increasing concentration on profitability rather than fee volume. They demonstrated that a firm such as PKF could be profitable if it was well-managed and good at identifying areas where it could make a contribution, he said.

This year's income will be hit by the loss of an audit fee, worth about pounds 2m, from the engineering group Williams, which has followed other large companies in appointing a big six firm. As a result, the Derby office, which handled that account, will be merged with the Nottingham operation to form an East Midlands office.

But Mr Wosner and his colleagues are confident that the improvement can be continued. In recent years, it has developed its business advisory and management consultancy arms with a view to being able to add value to the services offered to smaller companies. "By ensuring we maintain high professional standards and develop advisory services which are attractive to our market, we are assured of a successful business with potential for growth in the future," Mr Wosner told the annual general meeting of partners yesterday.

The figures also show that the average earnings of partners rose from pounds 81,000 last year to pounds 108,000. The improvement has been helped by cost reductions. The number of equity, or profit-sharing, partners has fallen from 140 to 130, though the number of non-equity partners has risen from 11 to 15.