RSM growth jumps by 15.8% to $7.26bn in 2021
RSM, the leading global audit, tax and consulting network focused on the middle market, has today announced global revenues of $7.26bn in 2021, up 15.8% on last year’s figure of $6.3bn.
RSM delivered strong growth across all of its service lines and regions over the past 12 months, reflecting its commitment to helping middle market businesses navigate the post-pandemic recovery and fulfil their global ambitions. Growth was led by consulting services, which saw the highest gains at 38.2%, followed by accounting (18.7%), tax (8.4%) and audit (7.6%).
These latest figures mark the seventh consecutive year of strong growth globally. The year 2021 saw RSM member firms transition from supporting clients through the pandemic to investing in a radically different post-pandemic future. The adoption of new technology, evolving sustainability commitments and a wave of M&A activity among the global middle market were key drivers of growth.
Demand soaring for expert consultancy services
These latest figures mark the second consecutive year of double-digit growth in consulting services for RSM. This has been driven by an increasing need for support by middle market businesses in a state of transition as they move from reacting to the pandemic, to accelerating their transformation in preparation for a new business age.
General business consultancy services in particular grew by 128% year-on-year as the middle market looked to evolve through the wide adoption of innovative new solutions. This includes enhancing efficiencies from business process outsourcing, developing new solutions powered by advanced artificial intelligence and automation technology, to creating supply chain resilience through pioneering data analytics.
Digitalisation, while offering many benefits, has also seen cybersecurity issues increase resulting in 19% growth in RSM’s Risk Advisory Services in 2021.
Furthermore, high levels of M&A activity globally led to increased demand for tax structuring and due diligence services as private equity, venture capital and private wealth sought to take advantage of the low-interest rate environment. In Europe alone, RSM recorded 276 deals in the first half of 2021 which equated to two transactions completed by Firms in the region per day across a six-month period.
Member firms also saw an increase in demand for cross-border tax advisory as the complexity of international tax regulation and the associated reputational risks continued to rise. Both trends were addressed by launching the Global M&A Tax Virtual Hub, a collaboration across New York, London, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Mexico City. The Hub combines global and local expertise to support internationally ambitious middle market businesses with cross-border M&A transactions.
As environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) has risen in prominence on the corporate agenda, partly driven by accelerated change associated with Covid-19 and nations’ net zero commitments cemented at COP26, Member Firms have supported clients develop and strengthen their business sustainability strategies.
Growth across all regions
RSM saw growth across all regions, with more than 40 new offices launched this year. In addition to new correspondent firms joining in the Bahamas and Nigeria, a new member firm joined the RSM Network based in Turkey. This closely followed the news that RSM’s member firm in Germany, RSM GmbH, had acquired HTG Wirtschaftsprüfung, significantly expanding its Berlin office. These developments support RSM’s continued expansion across Europe. Overall, Europe recorded growth of 15%, driven by transaction advisory services and a rise in IT consulting.
North America also recorded an impressive overall revenue growth of 15%, with consulting services in the region in particular growing by 50% in 2021 alone. Furthermore, the Middle East recorded strong growth of 23%, whilst revenues increased year-on-year by 20% in Asia Pacific, 15% in Africa, and 11% in Latin America as middle market businesses prioritised accounting, digital advisory and transformation and sustainability.
A year of collaboration
The Global M&A Tax Virtual Hub was the first in a series of international collaborations across RSM in 2021 as it responded to the second year of the pandemic. The Global Innovation Hub, a digital platform designed to accelerate innovation programmes, launched a series of initiatives globally, regionally and locally. The Digital Visionaries project saw RSM professionals collaborate with industry leaders from 14 countries to hunt for the next opportunity in globalisation.
Also launching in 2021 was the first automotive summit, the women in leadership programme and a brand and marketing forum. The women in leadership programme was initiated to fuel RSM’s diversity and inclusion journey, while the brand and marketing forum brought together hundreds of business development and marketing professionals to share insight and build global connections. The RSM Academy, meanwhile, moved online for the first time in its 14-year history, bringing together 300 delegates from member firms in every region to deepen their knowledge of multi-cultural, cross-border cooperation and global business development.
Jean Stephens, global chief executive officer of RSM International, commented: “Over the past year, global companies of all sizes have had to confront uncertainty and the accelerated change sparked by the pandemic. For middle market businesses this has been a chance to turn challenge into an opportunity to embrace flexible and agile working, digital-first and data-led technology solutions, with purpose-driven, ethical practices. As these businesses look to transform their operations in a post-pandemic era, critical thinking and specialist consulting support has never been more important.
“RSM Professionals from around the world have worked exceptionally hard to empower our client base of highly dynamic, entrepreneurial, and ambitious businesses to thrive during this challenging time. This has required new perspectives, innovative approaches and a forward-looking gaze to ensure company owners, boards and leaders are primed for growth in the new business age. Our outstanding financial results reflect this pace of change, and our unwavering commitment to supporting the growth ambitions of today’s leading businesses.”