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The Finance Dublin Accountancy Survey 2023 Back
Key Findings in the 2023 Survey of Ireland's Top Accountancy Firm.
1. EY’s growth in the past two surveys has seen a shake up amongst the Big Four. For the first time in the 35 year history of the survey EY is now the second largest firm by fee income and is within striking distance of top spot. Given the six month lag between its results and those of its’ closest rivals, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC, EY is poised to move into the position of No.1 largest firm in the Republic of Ireland once it releases its FY results for the year ended 30th June 2023. KPMG is the new leader by Republic of Ireland Fee Income. Historical changes at the top see KPMG, EY and Deloitte overhaul PwC, who are now in 4th position. EY (reporting figures to 30th June 2022) shows a significantly higher growth rate than its Big 4 rivals who have all reported more recent figures this year’s survey.

2. All firms in this year’s survey recorded fee income growth, and the overall increase of 17% exceeded the average inflation rate by a double digit percentage. This growth surge reflects the continued impact of a post pandemic recovery in fee income, which, as the table shows, saw an effective standstill in aggregate fee income (+1.2%) between 2020 and 2019. Averaging the experience of the sector over the years 2019 to 2023, the sector saw an average annual fee income growth of 10.8% - well in excess of the average inflation rate of the period, which was 12% in the 3 years. This compares with the aggregate rise of 36.4% in fee income during the same period shown in the Survey table.

3. The growth recorded in last year’s Survey (15.1%) reflected a strong post-pandemic rebound and this has been replicated with the later reporting firms continuing to reflect the effect of the post pandemic surge. Of the increase, almost a quarter can be attributed to EY, who added fee income of almost €100 million. Growth was also strong among other big firms with Grant Thornton the leader, recording 30%.

4. Growth was strong across all tiers in the survey with 14 of the responding firms reporting double digit growth, with six of these firms achieving growth above 20%. The Big Four’s share of total fee income remains steady at c.76%, while fifth-placed Grant Thornton’s strong growth figures see it expand the gap to BDO and Mazars, who remain 6th and 7th respectively.

5. Four of the Top 6 firms provided their Northern Ireland fee income, showing the competitive landscape at the top of the Northern Irish market. PwC showed little growth in fee income but continues to be the dominant firm with fee income up to GBP243 million from GBP241 million; Deloitte saw its net revenue in the jurisdiction grow to GBP103.5 million (up from GBP91.9 million); EY’s Northern Irish fee income was c. €43.8m and Grant Thornton’s reached GBP15 million (up from GBP12 million). These figures show PwC is comfortably the largest firm on an all-island basis, followed by KPMG (who’s all-island fee income reached €579m in this year’s survey), and Deloitte with EY in 4th position.

6. While there were major changes in the Big Four rankings there was minimal movement further down the table with HLB Ireland moving up one place to 16th and Ormsby & Rhodes moving up from 20th to joint 19th alongside Roberts Nathan. New names to the table this year are Azets (following the acquisition of Baker Tilly by the UK firm) and Strata Financial, formed by the merger of DKC Accountants and OCC Consulting in 2021.

7. Market concentration: The Big Four’s share remained at 76%. The Top 10’s share stands at 94.8%.

8. Leading firms recruitment activity has remained strong, contributing to the widely reported ‘war for talent’ for skilled professionals. For the period July 2022 to June 2023 KPMG (on an all-island basis) recruited over 1,000 people, PwC added almost 850, Grant Thornton added over 700 while Mazars added over 260. For the 12 months to June 2024 figures show most of the big firms are planning to maintain recruitment levels.
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