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KPMG says IT key to revenue gains

In a year that saw 15 percent growth, the biggest gains come from management consulting, which grew more than 30 percent to $3 billion.

Professional services firm KPMG International is crediting IT and management consulting for a healthy chunk of its 15 percent revenue leap this year.

KPMG's fastest growth came from management consulting, which grew more than 30 percent to $3 billion, up from $2.3 billion last year. Revenue from consulting has nearly doubled in the past three years--up from $1.54 billion in 1995, the company reported.

The global firm posted revenue of $10.4 billion for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1998. That's a 15.6 percent increase, after European to U.S. currency conversion, from a reported $9 billion in revenue in 1997.

Heavy demand for the firm's IT consulting services, business revamping skills, millennium bug fixes, and preparation for introduction of the Euro contributed to "a very strong performance across all consulting sectors," the company said in a prepared statement.

"Achieving an average growth rate of 19 percent before currency exchange is taken into account is a tremendous performance," said Colin Sharman, KPMG international chairman. "Our investment program in consulting over the past few years is now reaping rewards and we expect the strong growth in consulting to continue for the next two years at least."

Steps are also in place to unite the worldwide consultancy practice under an umbrella of common methodologies and communications technology, according to the company, which took part in scuttled merger talks with rival Ernst & Young earlier this year.

"In two years' time KPMG will be a changed business," Sharman said. "And we will get there while improving both profitability and client service."

In addition to rising revenue, hiring at KPMG over the past year has increased 8 percent. Of the firm's 92,000 employees, 6,790 are partners and 64,510 are professional staff.