EY has reported record global revenues despite pressure on professional services during the coronavirus pandemic and audit scandals that have threatened its reputation.

The Big Four accounting and advisory firm said turnover rose 4 per cent to $37.2bn in the 12 months to June 30.

However, its rate of growth was cut in half compared to 2019 because of a drop in fees during the pandemic as clients reduced spending on advisory services.

The firm has also suffered setbacks in the last year. The collapse of Wirecard, the German fintech business it had audited for a decade, is expected to lead to lawsuits against EY by investors.

EY is also under investigation in the UK after the failure of NMC Health, a FTSE 100 medical company that it had audited since its flotation in 2012, and has been scrutinised following an accounting scandal at Chinese café chain Luckin Coffee, its audit client since 2017.

EY is the second Big Four accountant to report a record year for turnover in 2020. Last month, PwC said it made revenues of £43bn in the 12 months to July, although growth slowed from 7 per cent to 1.4 per cent.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has affected people, businesses and communities everywhere, creating new challenges for us all,” said Carmine Di Sibio, EY’s global chairman and chief executive. “We had nearly 300,000 people working remotely and supporting EY clients’ business continuity and resilience needs.”

EY said its advisory and tax businesses grew 5 per cent while its assurance division, which includes audit, and its deals practice each made about 3 per cent more.

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The firm has launched plans this year to invest $1.5bn in improving audit quality, new technology and training staff.

“Serving the public interest through the delivery of high-quality audits globally is a key priority,” EY said. It added the firm would “continue to focus on AI, machine learning, predictive analytics and other disruptive technologies” to improve its services to clients in assurance, tax and deals advice.

Via Financial Times