The fall in revenue for the 12 months to 31 May was reflected across Deloitte’s three key business lines, with audit and assurance revenue falling by 2.2 per cent, advisory and consulting dipping by 1.9 per cent, and tax and legal dropping by 4.9 per cent.
The big four firm attributed the drop to the economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic and the subsequent change in clients’ buying patterns.
Deloitte, however, remains bullish over its future business outlook after it closed the final quarter with a 4 per cent year-on-year growth.
“FY21 was complex and challenging and, like many businesses, Deloitte experienced difficult and uncertain trading conditions, particularly over the first half of the year,” said Deloitte chief executive Adam Powick.
“We made some tough decisions to protect the health of our business, kept a focus on the market, and have finished the year with a strong balance sheet, a robust pipeline of work and a return to business growth.”
Some of the key cost-cutting measures that Deloitte took during the pandemic included a 20 per cent pay reduction for both partners and staff, as well as making 700 roles redundant across its 10,000-strong workforce.
Deloitte also lost CEO Richard Deutsch in March this year, after he resigned halfway through a four-year term, citing “personal cost” in navigating the firm through the pandemic.
The firm now employs 9,550 people, including 900 partners, after it announced 70 new partnership appointments at the end of last month.
Despite its challenges over the past year, Deloitte believes it is entering the new financial year in a strong position, although it concedes that strong growth will hinge largely on Australia’s vaccine rollout.
“The market for professional services is also expected to be strong in FY22. It will need to be as we pass the baton from the government-fuelled rebound to a sustainable private sector-led economic recovery over the next year,” said Deloitte in its results report.
“All that said, a successful vaccine rollout will be the key to success this year. If Australia meets its vaccine targets through FY22, then we expect a year defined by strong growth and reduced uncertainty.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.