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E&Y posts highest UK revenue growth in six years

ERNST & YOUNG has announced its highest UK revenue growth for six years, despite a fall in partner profits.

Income for the Big Four firm now stands at £1.6bn, an 11% climb, while all four of its service lines grew for the first time in three years, according to figures for the period ending 29 June 2012.

Tax enjoyed the most success, jumping 16% to £431m, followed by double-digit growth in the firm’s advisory arm, posting 12% growth to £416m. Assurance grew at 8% to £478m, while the transactions service saw 10% growth, bringing it to £306m.

Managing partner Steve Varley cited international tax as the main driver behind its tax growth, part of what he described as the firm’s “bold ambitions to go beyond the UK to look for growth opportunities”.

However, partner profits fell, and although the firm would not be drawn on the size of the drop, Varley was unconcerned.

He said: “Last year we were up in partner profits, and this year down a little bit, so we’re roughly flat over two years. I think in this market we set our stall out to take market share, and we think with 11% [revenue growth] we are. That is probably going to be more expensive than the norm, and we’re okay with that.”

Varley announced, too, that he hoped 30% of the firm’s partners would comprise women, with 10% drawn from black or other ethnic minority backgrounds.

“A more diverse organisation creates better business decisions,” said Varley. “Our bias is always to work with the talent that we have. [About] 28% of our UK leadership team and 18% of our partners are female. I know we can do more and I know we need to move forward so we focus not just on gender, but also on the ethnic diversity of our people and partners.”

He added that E&Y had experienced a 10% growth in jobs despite the recession, adding 1,200 staff this year and opening offices in Cambridge and Glasgow.

“There haven’t been cuts in any other areas,” said Varley. “We continue to see domestic opportunity that is best released by investing in our regional offices. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved in an uncertain market.”

Accountancy Age‘s Top 50 +50 2012 survey saw the Big Four firms grow 6.7% on last year, with their revenues hitting £7.73bn.

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