Un­cer­tainty over bonuses de­lays PwC pub­lish­ing its UK ac­counts

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Michael O’Dwyer

CON­SULT­ING firm PwC has de­layed pub­lish­ing its an­nual ac­counts by four months as bosses try to de­ter­mine how much pay and bonuses it can af­ford to pay staff and part­ners.

The Big Four firm said it will pub­lish its UK ac­counts in Jan­uary rather than in Septem­ber. Its full global fi­nan­cial re­sults, which showed rev­enues of $42.4bn (£32.4bn) last year, are ex­pected to be re­leased next week.

PwC de­layed pro­mo­tions, pay rises and bonuses for its 22,000 UK em­ploy­ees in April while it fought to pre­serve cash. Con­sul­tants have been hit hard dur­ing the pan­demic as clients cut non-es­sen­tial spend­ing and de­lay longterm projects. Firms fear that busi­ness could slump as much as 10pc next year even if there is no re­peat of this year’s ex­tended lock­down, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try re­search.

PwC’s 900 part­ners are paid from the profits left af­ter all other ex­penses have been paid at the end of its fi­nan­cial year, which runs to June 30. They re­ceived an av­er­age of £765,000 each last year but the firm pledged ear­lier this year to pro­tect jobs and for part­ners to bear the brunt of the fi­nan­cial pain in­flicted by the pan­demic.

Part­ners took a 20pc hit to their monthly dis­tri­bu­tions dur­ing the pan­demic. The firm has not been able to de­cide how much to pay part­ners un­til it makes a fi­nal call on the bonuses it hands to its rank-and-file au­di­tors, ac­coun­tants and con­sul­tants. Un­like ri­vals such as KPMG, BDO and Grant Thorn­ton, the firm has not used the fur­lough scheme and has avoided mak­ing re­dun­dan­cies.

A PwC spokesman said: “In keep­ing with our fo­cus through­out the pan­demic, our cur­rent pri­or­i­ties are man­ag­ing our busi­ness, sup­port­ing our clients and pre­serv­ing jobs be­fore we make any de­ci­sions about the quan­tum of the bonuses we pay to our staff and dis­tri­bu­tions to part­ners.”

The pub­li­ca­tion of gen­der and eth­nic­ity pay gap data, which is af­fected by pay and bonuses, will also be de­layed un­til Jan­uary. The ac­counts will still be within the statu­tory dead­line if they are filed in Jan­uary.

PwC gen­er­ated £4.2bn in UK rev­enue and £1bn in profits last year.

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