Professional services group EY has pushed job numbers at its Newcastle office above 600 as it looks to drive growth in the regions.
The company has reported UK fee income growth of 2.7% to £2.41bn for the year ending June 30, with distributable profits before tax increasing by 1.7% from £464m in 2017 to £472m in 2018.
The company’s Newcastle office is one of its biggest outside London, and is building a new global trade team, as well as bringing in new partners in transaction support and debt advisory services, to boost its presence in the North East.
EY’s Newcastle practice grew 2% to around 580 people during the financial year and that grown further since the year end.
Newcastle’s managing partner Sandra Thompson said: “EY is a people business and I am acutely aware that our results and strong performance in the marketplace are down to the exceptional talent we have here.
“Newcastle is already EY’s third largest office location in the regions but we have more growth planned. EY sees a large part of its future growth coming from the regions and that’s why we are investing in our regional teams across all levels.
“From a business perspective, the fact that burgeoning numbers of innovative start-up tech businesses like Gamevy are choosing to base themselves here really proves that Newcastle and the wider region has an increasingly compelling business story to tell.
“Add to this, the wealth of top class universities on our doorstep, which, alongside our Smart Futures, Business Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeship programmes, have enabled us to grow our numbers to more than 600 since the year end and expand our office space in the heart of the city. There’s a real warmth and buzz about the place, which has attracted a number of new people and businesses to our region.”
EY said it had taken on 17 graduates during the year, an 89% increase on the previous year, as well as tripling its apprentice numbers and opening applications for its first degree apprenticeship in partnershp with Northumbria University.
Along with the other Big Four accountants, EY is under pressure with the Government considering breaking up the firms after a series of accounting scandals including Carillion and BHS.
EY said that it was “committed” to improving audit standards, but stressed that it had not been fined by the Financial Reporting Council for any audit work completed in the last five years.
Steve Varley, EY’s UK chairman said: “We remain focused on the quality of our audit work and we also welcome the recently announced market study by the Competition and Markets Authority.
“This study, together with Sir John Kingman’s review and the FRC’s work on corporate reporting, presents a golden opportunity to examine the role of audit and to reinforce the focus of auditors and company directors on audit quality.
“We were disappointed that our latest audit inspection results from the FRC declined from last year. 82% of our FTSE 350 audits required ‘no more than limited improvements’ compared to 92% in 2017 – based on the FRC’s categories for audit quality. Encouragingly, the regulator said there were improvements in all of the areas it identified the previous year.
“We will continue our investment in even better technology and training for our people and further strengthened our long term Audit Quality Programme which started in 2014 to challenge and guide our teams.”
Source : Chroniclelive