| NEW YORK
NEW YORK PwC PWC.UL, the world's largest accounting firm, reported a record $31.5 billion in revenues in 2012 and forecast a big shift in business to developing markets, including the Middle East, despite prolonged civil unrest in the region.
Helped by increased advisory and consulting work, revenues for the year ended June 30 rose by 8 percent from $29.2 billion in fiscal 2011, PwC said in a statement on Thursday.
Advisory and consulting revenues rose nearly 17 percent, while audit and related services rose over 3 percent and tax revenues went up nearly 8 percent, PwC said.
Developing markets in the Middle East and Africa will be a growing focus of PwC and its clients, despite civil uprisings and protests sweeping across the Arab world since late 2010, PwC Chairman Dennis Nally told Reuters.
"The opportunities are so significant that many of our clients are still very much committed to that part of the world and are continuing to invest," Nally said.
"We've seen very, very little pullout of our client base from that region of the world."
EXPECTS TO RECRUIT 25,000 GRADS
The Middle East, Africa and other developing markets account for about 20 percent of PwC's global revenues, but that is expected to rise to 40 percent by 2017, PwC said in its statement.
Despite a debt crisis in the Eurozone, Western Europe remained PwC's biggest source of revenues, at nearly $12 billion in 2012, up from $11.5 billion in 2011.
North America and the Caribbean reported $11.2 billion in revenues, up from $9.9 billion.
Nally said the firm expects to hire about 25,000 new graduates over the coming year compared with about 20,000 for fiscal 2012. Its head count rose by about 7 percent in 2012 to over 180,000.
Despite an uncertain global economy, Nally expects demand for advisory and consulting work to remain strong as companies look for ways to cut costs, become more efficient and remain competitive.
"Many companies notwithstanding the challenges or potential issues are trying to move on," he said.
PwC kept its lead as the largest accounting and consulting firm for a second year after being unseated in 2010 by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu DLTE.UL. Deloitte last month reported $31.3 billion in revenues for its fiscal year ended in May.
Ernst & Young ERNY.UL, another of the Big Four firms, reported $24.4 billion in revenues on Monday for its fiscal year ended June 30, while KPMG KPMG.UL has yet to report.
(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Howard Goller and Andre Grenon)