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KPMG UK delays results as Covid forces reconsider partner payments.

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KPMG became the second major UK accounting firm to postpone the announcement of its latest annual results as it assesses the financial damage of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Big Four company’s partners said over the phone Tuesday that they were familiar with the situation that they would not receive year-end dividends until the new year as a result of the decision.

KPMG said the company will decide how to distribute revenue to 600 partners in the UK after taking into account its performance in the first three months of fiscal 2021. Previously, it was scheduled to report performance over 12 months from December to September. The news of the delay was first reported by Sky News.

Last year, KPMG partners each earned an average of £549,000, much lower than the partner payouts of their major rivals. KPMG’s revenue declined from £355 million to £37 million by the end of September 2019, but revenue increased by 3% to £2.4 billion.

KPMG is the second accounting firm to postpone financial performance since PwC announced in August that PwC’s annual figures will be released five months later than usual. The UK’s accounting sector struggled during the pandemic as clients postpone consulting projects, delayed tax advisory work and late payments of bills. Big Four, which also includes EY and Deloitte, has cut partners’ salaries up to a quarter since April.

Deloitte UK, the only Big Four company to report annual results so far this year, said last month that average partner salaries fell 17% in 2020 to £731,000, with overall revenue dropping to £512 million.

KPMG said: “Our business is resilient and focused on advising our clients as they respond to the needs of Covid-19 and adjust their business models for growth.

“However, considerable uncertainty remains about the future performance of the UK economy, and we are taking prudent steps to assess the results of the first quarter before deciding on year-end compensation with other companies.”

KPMG cut its partner revenue distribution by 25% in April, holding more cash to overcome the downturn during the crisis. The company also tried to reduce the amount paid in annuities for some employees, but if threatened by legal action, the decision had to be canceled.

Bill Michael, chairman of the UK KPMG, described the coronavirus as an “economic disaster”. In an email to the company’s 19,000 employees in April, he said: “The fact is that the vaccine is the only known’termination strategy’. We have a few months left and the economy is too long to survive the blockade.”

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