For young accounting professionals, working for one of the top accounting firms in the world is often a huge career goal.
For new business owners, having one of the top accounting firms in the world take care of your accounts and financial needs is probably also somewhat of a dream.
No matter what industry you’re associated with, you’re most likely aware of and look up to the infamous leaders of the accounting industry, for their impressive turnover and standout services.
But who are they? Led by the Big Four, let’s discover the top 10 accounting firms in the world one-by-one.
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, otherwise known as Deloitte, was founded in 1845 after William Welch Deloitte opened his first office in Basinghall Street in London as the first person to be appointed an independent auditor of a company.
Fast-forward to today, the UK-incorporated international professional services firm is largely seen as the top accounting firm within the Big Four.
Through offering audit work, risk management, investment management, financial advisory, tax, and consulting services to multinational clients, Deloitte racks up an incredible turnover year upon year and is highly admired by all within the industry.
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The second largest accounting firm, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), was born in 1998 as a result of a merger between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand. Following rebranding in 2010, the firm officially shortened its name to PwC and became the massive international professional services network we all know today.
Raking in billions worth of revenue annually, PwC is an accounting powerhouse and key member of the Big Four accounting firms, often rivalling (and sometimes overtaking) Deloitte revenue-wise. With a global presence, PwC continues to experience astounding growth year-to-year.
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Headquartered in London, EY (short for ‘Ernst & Young’) is a large global accounting firm, making up part three of the Big Four.
Much like PwC, EY was formed from a merger between successful accounting firms Ernst & Whinney and Arthur Young & Co. in 1989. The decision these two firms made to come together couldn’t have been smarter as, since, they’ve become one of the biggest in the biz, making billions worth of revenue every year.
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The final member of the Big Four is Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (most commonly known as KPMG), a large accounting firm boasting financial audit, tax services, wealth management and risk advisory as its four main offerings.
The company we know today was formed in 1987 from a merger between Klynveld Main Goerdeler (KMG) and Peat Marwick. KPMG is widely known for its incredibly large and impressive workforce of 227,000 employees, operating in 146 countries globally.
Founded in 1964 in Zaventem, Belgium, BDO is arguably the fifth largest accounting firm, with an incredible revenue of 11.8 billion dollars in 2021.
BDO offers tax services, consulting, business advisory and public accounting to a whole host of clients in over 150 countries in the world. Today, BDO does nothing but continue to expand into new markets, which contributes substantially towards the immense growth they see year-on-year.
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Reporting 7.26 billion dollars worth of revenue for the year 2021, RSM International (widely referred to as RSM), is a well-established name in the world of accounting and one of the top firms today.
Founded in 1964, RSM continues to provide its renowned audit, tax, and consulting services to clients across the world from its 860 offices. Much like Baker Tilly, RSM is also known for their generous employee initiatives, such as increased childcare support, extra PTO, and new mental health services in response to the pandemic.
7. Grant Thornton
Despite not being a member of the Big Four, Grant Thornton is a recognisable name in accounting, particularly within the audit sector.
With a revenue of 6.6 billion dollars in 2021, Grant Thornton remains one of the leading mid-tier accounting firms on the planet, serving clients in over 130 countries and continuing to grow each year.
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8. Baker Tilly
With an approximate year-on-year growth of 7.8%, Baker Tilly is another huge contender, and definitely one of the fastest growing accounting firms on the list.
With 708 offices across 148 territories, it’s safe to say that Baker Tilly is an international success and continues to flourish as time goes on. The firm is widely known for its amazing approach to culture, ensuring that they employ diverse staff, promote an excellent work-life balance and provide great training and development opportunities for all employees.
Having won multiple awards, Crowe (officially Crowe Global) is an incredibly prestigious accounting firm and a name that most will recognise.
Boasting north of 200 member firms across the world, Crowe have really established themselves as market leaders within the industry, backed by their stellar reputation.
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Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP is recognised as one of the top accounting firms, despite arriving on the accounting scene much later than a majority of the other firms mentioned within this list.
As a result of a merger between companies LarsonAllen and Clifton Gunderson, the company came to be in 2012 and have since become very well known within the space for the quality of their accounting services. CliftonLarsonAllen LLP currently operates in over 120 locations across the US, furthering expansion efforts year-on-year.
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The names we discussed above are genuine industry giants, but other companies deserve to be mentioned too. Here’s the list of honorable mentions:
- PKF International
- Marcum LLP
- MNP LLP
- Crowe Horwath International
- Plante Moran
- Alvarez & Marsal
- Moore Global Network Limited
- Mazars Group
Almost all of these are both accounting and audit firms, but they also offer a range of ancillary services, including:
- Management consulting
- Advisory services
- Valuation services
- Risk consulting
- Transaction advisory services
- Private equity management
- Accounting services in public sector
The biggest players in the accounting market
In conclusion, it’s clear to see that the Big Four dominate the accounting space in terms of revenue but, nevertheless, due to their continued efforts towards international expansion, the other accounting firms on this list are quickly on the rise and achieving success. Each of these top accounting firms has a unique story and unique features that set them apart from one another.