Big Four firm aims to treble size of northern consulting practice

Deloitte partner Richard Bray

Deloitte plans to massively increase its northern consulting team, with up to 50 jobs being created in the next six months.

It has ambitions to treble the size of the existing 100-strong practice by 2024.

The investment comes as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) prepares to publish plans for reform of the audit sector with the Big Four accountancy firms of Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC under pressure because of perceived conflicts of interest between their audit and consulting businesses.

Deloitte’s UK consulting business broke through the £1bn revenue barrier for the first time in 2020 and it now accounts for nearly 30% of the firm’s revenues.

Deloitte partner Richard Bray is relocating from London to Manchester to lead the growth plans across its Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle offices.

Government and retail will be targeted because of the pace of transformation affecting those sectors, although all companies that “have big ambitions and are transforming their business” will be sought regardless of their stage of development.

Bray has started to hire some senior people into the consulting team with a wider recruitment drive set to be launched early in the new year.

“Historically you have had to move to London to have a full career in consulting – we want to change that,” said Bray.

“The region is home to a wide range of ambitious businesses and public sector organisations that are looking for support on transformation projects and how to adopt new ways of working.

“We want to help those businesses and have an impact that matters.”

Bray, who is dyslexic and initially struggled to find a job after graduating before joining Deloitte 17 years ago, is also keen to broaden access to the profession.

“We want to look at first jobs – and I will be looking at non-university educated people – all the way through to senior roles,” he added.

In August Deloitte acquired London-based technology consultancy Keytree, adding 400 staff to its digital transformation services.

However, it has also made some cutbacks as it responds to changing demand and working practices that is accelerating change within the professional services sector.

In October Deloitte revealed it would close its offices in Liverpool, Nottingham, Southampton and Gatwick, although all affected staff were offered full-time remote working roles.

It will also more than halve the office space it occupies in Manchester when it moves from Hardman Street to the Hanover Building next year as part of its real estate strategy.