The firm was founded 175 years ago by William Welch Deloitte, George Touche and Admiral Nobuzo Tohmatsu, although commonly known as Deloitte, the group’s full legal entity name pays homage to its founders, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
At the age of 15, Deloitte became an assistant to the Official Assignee at the Bankruptcy Court in the City of London. As president of the newly created Institute of Chartered Accountants, he found a site for its headquarters in 1888. In 1893, he opened offices in the United States, and started to audit a growing soap and candle business.
Founder, Touche qualified as an accountant in Edinburgh in 1883. After saving doomed businesses from disaster, he formed George A. Touch Co. in 1899 and in 1900, along with John Niven, he set up the firm of Touche Niven in New York.
Tohmatsu helped expand the group’s international presence. In 1967, he became president of the Japanese Institute of CPAs. The key to Tohmatsu’s growth was his decision to send a “substantial number” of partners and professional staff overseas to gain experience. From the beginning, this meant the firm was internationally focused.
A significant merger was announced in November 2020 when the group acquired technology and digital media law firm Kemp Little. London-based, the firm offers legal services in commercial technology, corporate, employment, data protection and financial regulation across a range of sectors including financial services, telecoms, and media and digital solutions.
The firm is run by Richard Houston, the senior partner and chief executive for the UK. He works alongside Stephen Griggs, UK managing partner and Paul Stephenson, managing partner for audit and assurance and Richard Bell, managing partner, financial advisory.
The firm employs 20,000 professionals in the UK all of which specialise in a variety of sectors. In 2019/20 the firm hired 4,842 people, 3,000 of whom were experienced professionals and over 1,842 were graduates, Brightstarts, apprentices and interns.
On top of the firm’s accounting services the group also offers a variety of different business services.
Business process outsourcing – The service incorporates specialists in the selection of, and implementation of BPO contracts, including programme management (contract mobilisation), strategy and insight into client buying requirements, financial modelling for PbR and contract profitability analytics.
Facilities management – The service works with a range of businesses from small UK corporates to large firms with both UK and international presence. Human capital services works with a range of businesses from entrepreneurial privately-owned businesses to larger listed firms.
Logistics and distribution – This is another service sector alongside plant hire, in which the firm advises on mergers and acquisitions, financial and cash flow management, as well as maximising operational efficiency, finance transformation and strategy, financial reporting and governance property strategy optimisation.
In the latest financial report for the firm, it showed revenue of £4.31bn for the year ended 31 May 2020, up 9.1% from £3.95bn in 2019. Revenues in April and May proved to be “significantly impacted” by the pandemic, however, with growth dropping to around 2%.
Distributable profit was £518m, down 16% from £617m the year before. However, the group continued to make a major tax contribution in the UK, contributing and collecting a combined £1.2bn in direct and indirect taxes for HMRC.
Deloitte recently found itself entangled in an upper management accusation of workplace behavioural issues. Dimple Agarwal, deputy chief executive and head of people and purpose, was forced to step down from her role following claims of bullying.
The Telegraph broke the news that the group was investigating ongoing claims that Agarwal would orchestrate “extremely early” morning meetings and had an “aggressive” communication style. In response, the firm said it has a “zero tolerance” approach to bullying and harassment of any kind and ostensibly encourages people to speak up and raise concerns “without fear of career penalty or other reprisal”.