Düsseldorf, 5 February 2024
- Total revenue 2022/23 grew to 212 million euros
- ESG, cyber and financial services driving growth
- New team of directors since October 2023 continuing to emphasise quality clients, networking and strategic growth
The German Grant Thornton Group, which is a legally independent company in Germany and a member of the international Grant Thornton network, ended its 2022/23 financial year on 30 September 2023 with revenue up around 14 per cent at 212 million euros. This is the highest revenue of any year in the company’s history, which continues Grant Thornton’s constant trajectory of growth in Germany.
The greatest driver of growth was the Tax service line, with a share of around 96.7 million euros of total revenue (+16 per cent year on year), followed by Audit & Assurance, with around 66.8 million euros (+6 per cent). The Advisory service line made around 40.7 million euros (+20 per cent) and Legal made up a share of 7.6 million euros (+29 per cent) (all figures rounded).
Development of the service lines
The Tax service line showed particularly strong growth in revenue, both due to substantial organic growth as well as by gaining new partners and teams – like Sören Freitag and his twelve-strong team in Munich and Lukas Kawka in Berlin recently. One important focus for the current financial year is sustainability – issues such as the Green Deal, Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), emissions trading and taxes on plastic packaging are becoming more important. A team of experts in ESG in the Tax service line will provide clients with specific advice on this, including harmonising tax reporting with global standards and requirements for transparency in tax. In addition, the area of tax technology underwent much development, particularly at the interface between VAT and ERP systems, and will continue to be an important driver of growth in the future. The expansions in capacity undertaken in previous years on specialist topics like VAT, private client services and transfer pricing have been placed on the market successfully and function well together with the existing broad and established base of advisory in the areas of corporate tax and declarations.
The Audit & Assurance service line also saw a significant rise in advisory and assurance within the context of ESG, primarily in sustainability reporting. Concerning digitalisation, a focus last year was on Grant Thornton’s own assurance technology platform “Leap”, which was deployed in the 2022/23 audit season for the first time. The cloud-based audit software enables collaboration and communication with our clients and within the firm to be significantly improved and simplified. This software is accompanied by extensive data analytic approaches which are being used more and more in assurance and advisory services. The outstanding new clients gained by the Audit & Assurance service line include Porsche Automobil Holding SE, which is our first client in the DAX40.
In the Advisory service line, it was deal advisory that was able to grow most, despite the weak economic conditions. Outstanding advisory projects included Rite-Hite, one of the market leaders in loading technology worldwide; MAN, the commercial vehicle manufacturers; Building Materials Europe (BME), which is known in Germany through the Hornbach DIY chain; and Klöckner, the steel and metal traders. Alongside a strong focus on ESG advisory, the Advisory service line continues to look at issues surrounding AI, including the question of how much ChatGPT is going to change value chain processes in M&A. Overall, Advisory at Grant Thornton has made an optimistic start to the current financial year and has set itself an ambitious agenda for growth of over 20 per cent, despite the unstable geopolitical and economic conditions.
The Legal service line has ambitious plans to grow, which are to be achieved both by organic growth and also by strategic lateral hires. Going along with this growth strategy, Grant Thornton plans to add specialisations to its existing range of services with a view to its clients’ needs and to include other legal areas in its existing full service range of civil law. Internally, Legal is concentrating on networking more closely with the other service lines in order to be able to provide clients with a ‘one stop shop’. Potential for short- and medium-term growth exists in the areas of the public sector, corporate, M&A, litigation, real estate, employment law, IT law and digital issues.
ESG, cyber and financial services as future drivers of growth
The need for advisory concerning ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) in the assurance and advisory sector is constantly growing. In the coming years, the field is going to become an important pillar for business growth. Grant Thornton assists businesses towards sustainability reporting and provides advice on this, including on issues of compliance, accompanied by further ESG services like green finance and ESG due diligence. To address the wide need for advisory and assurance, Grant Thornton is continuing to intensify the interdisciplinary collaboration between the various service lines.
Due to the complex regulatory requirements and the considerable pressure of competition facing companies in the financial sector, Grant Thornton continues to expect demand for advisory and assurance services in this area to be high. Expertise in the service lines is being more tightly dovetailed and collaboration within the international Grant Thornton network intensified, not least to comply with new requirements, such as ESG and DORA in the context of internationally orientated business models.
Cyber-attacks now present a major risk to business. Few businesses are prepared for the wide range of threats, while the need for modern cyber-security infrastructure, appropriate staffing and overarching governance is growing. Grant Thornton offers its clients the basis for a secure, holistic digital transformation, with cyber-advisory, cyber-incident response, process and technology advisory and managed security services, complemented by entry-level products such as digital health checks and digital maturity assessment. Our diverse team of digitalisation experts that both carries out projects on the corporate level and develops innovative technologies, tools and platforms, incl. based on artificial intelligence (AI) in the service lines, is closely interwoven into a strong ecosystem of partnerships with science, start-ups and non-profits.
German Grant Thornton Group sets the course for the future
As the new financial year 2023/24 begins, so does the new team of directors: the spokeswomen of the board, Prof. Dr Heike Wieland-Blöse is the CEO of the firm, who also represents Germany as a member of the Board of Governors, the management committee of Grant Thornton international. She is accompanied on the Board of directors by Dr Jan Merzrath and Marc A. Sahner. The trio will be jointly responsible for the strategically crucial areas of people & culture, communications, clients & markets, sustainability, quality and technology. At the same time they will manage business with the service line managements of Audit & Assurance, Tax, Advisory and Legal.
The goal of the new team of directors is to further expand the number of clients in the upper international mid-market segment. “Our clear focus is on further growth, both organic and inorganic”, says Dr Heike Wieland-Blöse. “We advise our customers across service lines, offices and not least across national borders, in depth and breadth, in detail and individually.” Grant Thornton achieved a milestone in March 2023 by gaining Porsche Automobil Holding as its first DAX40 client – a success that shows that the market accurately values Grant Thornton’s development in taking up the position of a quality service provider. “The key thing for us in gaining a client is not that they are publicly listed but whether we are convinced we can deliver high-quality results. This requires the staffing and professional set-up to match, nationally and internationally”, says Wieland-Blöse.
To cover the growing need for advisory and assurance Grant Thornton has been reinforced in the past financial year with the addition of around 650 new employees, including 30 new partners. “Particularly in times when there is of shortage of skilled workers, the new staff we have gained are a strong sign that we are looking to the future and form the basis for the constantly high quality of our work”, Wieland-Blöse explains. “We had a very positive 2022/23 financial year, not only in economic terms. We also grew and were able to make some important adjustments in areas that will be important in the future like ESG and cyber.” Wieland-Blöse considers Grant Thornton to be ideally placed for the coming year.
The Grant Thornton International network, which published its annual figures in December 2023, can also look back on a successful financial year of further growth and global revenues of 7.5 billion dollars.
About Grant Thornton in Germany
Grant Thornton AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft is one of the ten largest audit firms in Germany, providing services to upper mid-market companies and listed companies, with around 1,900 employees at ten offices. The audit and advisory firm consists of the service lines Audit & Assurance, Tax, Advisory and Legal. The firm is legally independent. To be able to serve national clients internationally as well, the firm is a member of the Grant Thornton International Ltd network (GTIL). GTIL and its member firms are not a worldwide partnership but legally independent entities. With around 73,000 employees, the Grant Thornton network advises companies in 149 countries across the world. www.grantthornton.de
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