Hammonds delays profit distribution as PwC extends financial audit to July

Hammonds is set to delay the distribution of profit to partners as its new auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) carry out an extensive examination of the firm’s finances. Due to the audit, the firm will not finalise its figures until July – over a month later than last year – which is likely to cause a delay to profit distribution.

As reported by The Lawyer (28 February), Hammonds’ new managing partner Peter Crossley decided earlier this year to tender for new auditors. PwC replaced the firm’s previous auditors Fletcher Greenwood & Co in February.

While several of its rivals celebrate impressive increas-es, Hammonds is waiting for an expected 25 per cent slump to around £200,000 for average profit per equity partner. Turnover is likely to remain static at last year’s £136m.

Since his election last summer, Crossley has instituted a programme of reorganisation to boost Hammonds’ declining profitability. The last financial year will be hit by an “exceptional charge”, consisting of reorganisation expenses and a £1.6m write-off of fees billed to Customs & Excise.

Hammonds is also requesting the repayment of drawings from current and former equity partners and it instituted a 14-month lock-in in March.

A spokesperson confirmed the delay in releasing figures and said it was down to the fact that it was PwC’s first year acting for the firm.