Professional services 2019 outlook
In 2018 we saw a very healthy level of revenue growth across the Professional Services sector. Looking at the UK legal sector as an example we saw revenue growth on average just under 10% which was a fantastic result given the uncertainty of Brexit.
The themes in 2018 are a continuation of what we’ve seen in previous years.
Firstly consolidation - we’ve seen a number of mergers within the legal sector. We’ve also seen a number of mergers in the accountancy sector and increasingly mergers across the accountancy / legal divide.
Investment in 2018 was also a key theme. We saw investment in technology ranging from investing in systems and infrastructure and also investment in protecting the firm. The war for talent also showed no signs of easing – this is clearly adding pressure to a firms cost base and firms are increasingly looking at the culture of the business to attract and retain talent.
Looking forward to 2019 change will be a common theme. Firms need to remain close to their clients to make sure that the services and products that they offer remain relevant and so they can adapt to changing needs.
I think clients will continue to review their ownership models to make sure that they’re fit for purpose – that they can help support growth ambitions and that they will also attract the right talent to the firm.
In 2019 the working environment will continue to change as IT is adopted and flexible working practices kick in. I think it’s really important to get this area correct because that’s where the two key aspects of people and cost converge.
One of the challenges that we’ve seen in 2018 and which will remain going forward is cyber fraud. In terms of cyber security we are running a number of client seminars that bring together learnings from within Barclays that will help clients identify this growing threat.
As business conditions are expected to remain uncertain my advice to clients is not to face problems or challenges in isolation. Collaboration either with peers or with advisors remains key.
The professional services team at Barclays is now over 20 years old and has seen many things during the different cycles. We therefore remain very well positioned to help clients navigate the uncertain times ahead.