Ernst & Young experienced strong global revenue growth in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, increasing 7.8 percent on a local currency basis since the previous fiscal year, reaching a total of $31.4 billion for its member firms around the world.

Much of the revenue growth came from technology. EY pointed to continuing expansion of its globally connected EY Wavespace innovation centers to 15 and significant investments in digital transformation, analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics. Digital services, business advisory and capital transactions fueled the network’s double-digit growth in its advisory and transactions businesses. EY also grew through acquisitions, making 13 acquisitions and forging six global alliances to expand the network’s resources and capabilities.

EY said its assurance business grew 4 percent, while the advisory business increased 10.4 percent, tax grew 7.9 percent and transaction advisory services increased 15.5 percent over the course of the fiscal year.

EY also saw double-digit growth in its Consumer Products & Retail and Wealth & Asset Management practices. Consumer Products & Retail growth saw strong demand for M&A transaction services, digital supply chain reinvention services and SAP transformation advisory services, while Wealth & Asset Management experienced greater demand for digital transformation, customer experience innovation and operational efficiency initiatives, along with M&A services.

“We have once again achieved strong revenue growth in what continues to be a complex business environment,” said EY global chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger in a statement Tuesday. “In this disrupted and fast-paced world, clients are increasingly turning to EY for advice and insights on how to better manage risk, where to seek growth and how to weave digital into their strategies and operations. EY has a holistic approach to digital transformation and innovation, which is embedded across all service lines and sectors. Significant investments in people and new technologies have allowed us to respond to the dynamic environment.”

EY saw its highest growth geographically in the Asia-Pacific region, with a growth rate of 11.3 percent. The Europe, Middle East, India and Africa region increased 8.6 percent, while the Americas region grew 7 percent, although Japan dipped 2 percent compared to fiscal year 2016.

In the U.S., EY recorded more than $13 billion in revenue, a 6.7 percent increase over fiscal year 2016. EY's Transaction Advisory Services business led the way in U.S. growth with five of the network's biggest M&A deals originating at U.S.-based businesses. EY’s advisory business experienced nearly double-digit growth, thanks to the firm’s performance improvement services. The U.K. also saw near double-digit growth across all service lines, sectors and regions despite Brexit worries. EY also said it experienced strong growth in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

EY’s emerging market practices gained 9 percent, led by India, which grew 19.6 percent. Mexico saw 14.8 percent growth, while Greater China achieved 13 percent growth.

Technology Growth

EY grew its Global Innovation group in Silicon Valley, which pilot tests projects in artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, blockchain and other technologies. The firm said it is now using more than 1,100 robots to support its businesses and clients. EY is also working to expand the use of drones in inventory observations, as part of the firm's digital auditing services focused on enhancing audit quality.

During fiscal year 2017, EY made 13 strategic acquisitions, expanding its skills in robotic process automation, digital, cyber, analytics, supply chain and strategy. EY also signed six agreements with various organizations, including with the John Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, and Pivotal (part of Dell EMC).

EY has been giving more of its employees the opportunity to develop skills such as robotics and AI. During fiscal year 2017, the firm invested approximately $500 million and more than 12 million hours in supporting the continued development of its employees.

As part of that focus, EY launched GigNow, a global marketplace for talent that is embracing the “gig economy” and giving more opportunities within the firm to employees who want more flexibility or short-term assignments. GigNow is currently active in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, matching qualified contractors with projects in areas such as digital, cyber, robotics and blockchain. Since the launch of the initiative, GigNow has registered 3,000 contractors and matched nearly 500 people with various projects.

Over the course of the fiscal year, EY hired more than 65,000 people, while over 2 million people applied to join the firm. The network now includes 18,000 data and analytics professionals, along with 2,100 data scientists.

Overall, headcount increased 7.3 percent during fiscal year 2017, now totaling 250,000 people globally. EY promoted 669 people to partner and added more than 385 lateral partners in fiscal 2017. Diversity of senior leaders also increased, with 36 percent of new partners coming from emerging markets and women making up nearly 30 percent of new partners.

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.