Advisory Performance Summary

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Advisory deliverers mostly positive results, driven by our focus on being client-centric, developing our people and embracing new technologies.



Our vision is to create value for our firm, our people, and our clients across Africa by delivering strategy-led, asset-backed solutions. Despite tough economic conditions and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we realised this by delivering quality and value to our clients, achieving excellent people engagement, and delivering excellent performance and improved profitability across our business.

Mark O'Flaherty - Advisory Leader



  • Launch and execution of our Global Connected Execution strategy 
  • Implementation of key foundational elements, including digital platforms, integrated solutions, Activation Hub, Experience Centre 
  • Rollout of key propositions such as Fit for Growth, Value Creation and Perform+
  • Improved profitability amid tough economic conditions
  • Maintaining high performance and energy through the COVID-19 crisis, which enabled us to largely meet/beat our ‘most likely’ financial targets



Financial results - revenue

Financial results


  • Realising the benefits of Connected Execution
  • Elevating our market presence, capturing market share, making the most of COVID-19 initiatives, strengthening alliances and emphasising our value narrative
  • Closely managing our revenue, operations, clients, people and quality


The COVID-19 pandemic posed the most significant threat to our business this year, but we adapted extremely well to the change in circumstances. We have focused on helping our teams work together and by prioritising clear and transparent communication with all stakeholders — clients, partners, and staff — we have managed to maintain the momentum of the business through all levels of the national lockdown.

We’re especially proud of how our employees have responded to the additional support. Their feedback tells us that our communication, guidance and supervision, technology, and behaviours have enabled them to remain steady, engaged, productive and positive during this difficult time. By continuing to put our purpose and values at the centre of everything we do, we will ensure the sustainability of our practice beyond COVID-19.

Read more about our response to COVID-19 and our culture, purpose and values.



A significant change in FY20 was the restructuring of the business operating model to align with the introduction of the ‘Connected Execution’ strategy. We used the strategy to reinvigorate our teams and engagement across the practice. The new strategy was underpinned by a revised structure within Advisory. Our new team leader structure assisted in re-engaging our staff and aligning them to our strategic priorities. 

Customer-led transformation and digital transformation were important features of our business this year. The strength of our alliances with major tech vendors meant we could help clients respond to problems and opportunities in new and different ways. 

Management Consulting and Strategy& underwent the biggest organisational changes as the Advisory business moved to four issue-led platforms (Deals, Risk & Regulatory, Digital and Transformation). Consulting was tasked with leading Digital and Transformation. As these develop, more competencies and business units  will come on board to enrich the value propositions we offer to our clients. 

Over and above the firmwide digital transformation and upskilling programme, we implemented the Consulting Delivery Academy to equip our teams with the skills and capabilities to deliver consistently, manage risk proactively, and ensure the highest level of quality and value for our clients.  More than 300 participants took part in this comprehensive programme. Our Foundation for the Future graduate trainee programme saw 30 young professionals with diverse backgrounds and skills join Advisory. We also worked with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator to bring some of their candidates into our programme. 

Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, clients and the government called on us to assist with critical responses to the pandemic. We also worked with Business Unity South Africa in establishing the Business for South Africa response to accelerate inclusive economic growth and employment in the wake of the pandemic. Among our priorities for the year ahead is helping clients define their unique skills and technology needs, and combining this knowledge with strategy to deliver transformational results. We believe our global investments in integrated solutions to support our key transformation offerings — customer-led, finance, operations, HR, and risk and regulatory transformation, as well as enterprise strategy and transformation — will help us deliver greater value to them. We also look to further embed our global Advisory strategy and to realise the benefits of our own transformation for our clients’ benefit. This year’s disruption cemented the importance of speed, agility and consistency. We’re committed to building on these lessons to help clients look beyond change to opportunity.




Deals remained resilient and experienced good trading levels over the year. Our activity on client transactions was driven by the availability of capital, large restructuring projects in the South African market and South African businesses’ and private equity funds’ appetite for strategic opportunities to expand or transform amid increasing disruption. Our strength in crisis and restructuring will be key as we support clients to repair, rethink and reconfigure their businesses to ensure they emerge strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our Restructuring unit has been focusing on helping clients understand their liquidity positions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and repairing or restructuring their balance sheets. Activity in Transaction Services and Corporate Finance was high over the first nine months of the year, with clients across a wide variety of industries seeking opportunities for strategic M&A, disposals as part of portfolio restructuring or entering new sectors,. We noted a slowdown in activity over the last three months of the year and future activity will be dependent on recovery of the economy.

Our people and their skills are at the heart of Deals. Technology upskilling, the Edge graduate trainee programme and secondment opportunities have fostered learning. Our annual Deals strategy session gave PwC Deals teams from across sub-Saharan Africa a chance to engage with our new strategy, network with key role players from across Deals and explore opportunities for greater collaboration. 

Our clients tell us that when we combine our cross-firm expertise and deep sector knowledge that we’re differentiated. But, we’re truly at our best when we show real care in working together with them to support their personal and business objectives. More than ever, we’re committed to bringing the best of Deals and the wider firm to create and protect value for our clients.

Looking ahead, one of the problems that stands in the way of economic recovery and resilience is business debt. While further distress is inevitable, there is liquidity in the system , and we expect to help many clients avoid insolvency by managing cost, restructuring, and sourcing capital injections. We’ll work with clients to repair, rethink and restructure their business and preserve and create value for all stakeholders.

Due to the pervasive nature of economic crime and fraud, our team of specialists had another busy year helping clients prevent, respond to and remediate a wide range of business threats, risks and complex issues. We helped clients manage exposures and risks such as corporate failures, claims disputes, fraud, cyberattacks and ensuring compliance with regulatory and legal requirements.

The future of forensics will be in technology and this year we continued our investment  in forensic technology solutions and upskilling our staff through our Forensics Academy. We now have a team of skilled specialists deploying Alteryx and PowerBI as part of our methodology.

Through the execution of some high-profile engagements and adopting the latest digitally-enabled methodologies, we continue to enhance our presence across the region and strive to be considered the preferred forensics specialists in the marketplace. 

Read more about how we inspire our people.


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Delivering our strategy


The quality of our work across the full range of our services is a key focus, not only in terms of how best to test, measure and enhance quality, but also the levels of investment needed to ensure our quality is at the level we and our stakeholders expect. An example of how we manage quality is our convening Project Acceptance Panels for high risk and high value projects. These assess not only the risk, commercial and strategic aspects of a project, but also our ability to deliver quality and adhere to our brand values. Another example is a quality review programme, which includes in-flight reviews conducted during the project lifecycle to proactively manage quality and identify risks to be mitigated. In the year ahead we plan to further strengthen our in-flight review process, while also closely monitoring our risk and quality performance indicators.

Sharpening our market focus

This year we focused on three key areas:

  • Connected Execution - This way of working aims to create genuine market differentiation by shaping our Advisory practice to deliver issues-led advice with asset-backed delivery. Advisory Connected Execution builds on what we have already been doing and provides a catalyst for greater alignment across Advisory, the firm, and the broader PwC network.
  • Experience Centre - We advanced our Business eXperience Technology (BXT) capabilities with the launch of our Experience Centre at our Waterfall offices. Driven by creative, human-centered approach, this facility offers interactive technology and immersive spaces to differentiate our client experience with a new method of selling and delivering. 
  • Local Activation Hub - Our Local Activation Hub was created to be the sales pursuit facilitator for Advisory. The aim is to enable our teams to improve origination and proposal quality for strategic clients and target opportunities. By being a gateway to the global PwC network, the Hub will connect our teams to the best and most relevant capabilities to ensure the right pursuit strategy, solution and delivery model are assembled in order to win work

In the coming year we aim to further embed our Connected Execution strategy to mature the operating model and realise the benefits of a connected network of firms that realises tangible value for our clients.

Being commercial

We have been applying our minds to improving profitability by increasing revenue and improving engagement margins in order to increase Advisory’s contribution to the firm’s overall financial performance. We have also lowered the cost to deliver through improved partner and staff utilisation.

The year ahead will see us focusing on maturing operational excellence through increased consistency and discipline in the way we manage the business to create investment capacity and drive profitable growth.


Digitising our business

We have continued on our digital transformation journey to enable the business to bring greater value and a better experience to our people and clients. 

This coming year, Advisory will be launching a cross-business operating systems (xBOS) reporting dashboard to present information for the entire Advisory engagement life cycle. xBOS Reporting is an integrated platform that brings together data from all our underlying BOS systems — Salesforce, Oracle and Workday — to deliver near real-time reporting on a host of performance metrics 

Read more about our digital transformation.


Inspiring our people

The last year has been dominated by the action we’ve taken to support and communicate with our staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the situation starts to normalise, we’re focusing on proactive performance management, retention of top talent and making sure our people have the right skills and tools to work optimally. We are also refining our efforts to achieve our transformation and inclusion targets by recruiting through community initiatives such as the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, mentioned earlier.

Find out more about how we are inspiring our people.


Greater societal purpose

Building on the momentum of our social response to COVID-19 and our contribution to the Business for South Africa initiative, we are committed to continue sharing our expertise to bring about positive social change.  We also plan to continue connecting our staff with initiatives that create meaningful societal impact in the three areas:

  • Skills for society - We’re investing in our digital skills and solutions to help close gaps that prevent people from diverse backgrounds from joining the future workforce.
  • Community - Our community engagements are designed to encourage staff donations and volunteerism in effort to empower our people to enrich the communities in which they live.
  • Education and mentoring - Many of our staff participate in education and mentoring programmes, including PwC supported initiatives and external ones. Our aim is to raise awareness of these programmes and encourage greater participation by our people across the country.

Read more about how we’re living our societal purpose.


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Sanchia  Temkin

Sanchia Temkin

Senior Manager, Media Relations, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4470