PwC will increase its global level by more than a third over the next five years as part of a $ 12 billion investment in recruitment, training, technology and business aimed at capturing a growing market for environmental, social and environmental advice. governance.
The plan, announced Tuesday, marks a significant acceleration from the $ 7.4 billion investment by the monitoring and consulting group since 2016, when its annual revenues grew by 20 percent to $ 43 billion.
The expansion will add 100,000 people to a workforce that has grown by more than a quarter, to 284,000 people, in the last five years.
It includes a $ 3 billion plan to double its Asia-Pacific business, which brought in $ 6.4 billion in revenue from the year to June 2020, and the launch of “trusted leadership institutes” in the United States. and in Asia to train clients in business ethics and the rudiments of ESG.
Investors are increasingly scrutinizing the social impact of the companies they support and its effect on their financial returns, and PwC’s investment plan is the strongest signal that the Big Four accounting firms expect that ESG advice has become a central part of all its lines of business, as digital capabilities have become the norm in the last decade.
Bob Moritz, global president of PwC, said the company “has to invest massively to redefine itself and stand out to make sure we are valued for what our customers need and what the world needs.”
The market for professional advice on “pure” sustainability issues, such as clean technology and sustainable investment, will reach $ 1bn globally by 2020, according to Source Global Research, which expects to combine advice on sustainability with other services will be even more lucrative for counselors.
The other Big Four firms – Deloitte, EY and KPMG – include sustainability issues in long-standing practices such as audit and insurance, and give ESG greater importance in their businesses. EY has appointed Steve Varley, the former head of its UK member company, as its first global vice-president for sustainability, for example.
Accounting firms also provide ESG training to auditors as the industry prepares for increased regulation in sectors such as climate information by companies. When regulators argue ESG standardized disclosures assimilated to the international accounting rules agreed decades ago, all PwC staff needed at least “a basic knowledge” of ESG, said Tim Ryan, president of the United States.
Ryan said the U.S. business will merge its accounting and tax reporting operations into a single unit to be called “trust solutions”. The two divisions needed to make similar investments, he said, and both were striving to help customers become more confident at a time when the company’s corporate expectations were growing.
There will also be a $ 1bn investment in quality control and audit automation. Ryan said PwC has planned acquisitions to improve its capabilities in sectors including ESG, cloud technology and artificial intelligence.
The company has made small technology acquisitions in recent years, but the focus on ESG is likely to be seen as its biggest strategic change since it acquired strategic consulting firm Booz & Co in 2014.
PwC’s spending plans include $ 125 million for a U.S. initiative aimed at finding 25,000 jobs for students of racial and ethnic minorities in five years, including $ 10,000 in PwC. American society currently employs 7,000-8,000 people a year in total.