Big Four Accounting Firms – The Ultimate list

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Big Four Accounting Firms – The Ultimate list

Introduction

Finance and Accounts enthusiasts work hard to build a career for themselves. They dream of working for the best companies that recognize and value their skills. If you are passionate about building a career in finance and accounts, you might have heard of the Big Four Accounting firms. Many people passionate about having a great career in this field hope to get hired by these companies. 

Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are the four of the top accounting companies to work for. They are the best choice for the individual looking for quick growth and a lucrative salary, both in one place. 

In this article, you will find all the important details relative to these companies and learn how to build a career in such companies. 

What is an Accounting Firm?

Accounting firms play an important role in helping clients manage their finances. They oversee accounts payable/receivable, bookkeeping, and payroll processing. These firms are of great help to their clients as they help the clients assess the financial health of their finances. These firms can have some very influential clients, and these firms help them look after their taxes, stay on top of their finances and grow as successful and influential businesses. 

As you know, accounting firms have critical roles to play for their clients. Four companies are considered the largest professional services networks in the world and are called the Big Four Accounting firms. These are:

  1. Deloitte
  2. Ernst & Young (EY)
  3. KPMG,
  4. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
Big4S Accounting Firms

Although there are several large accounting firms worldwide, these Big Four accounting firms are considered the best due to their large influence in the market and their clients (most Fortune 500 companies). 

Why are the Big Four Companies the most reputed accounting firms in the world?

Previously, the Big Eight included Arthur Andersen, Arthur Young, Coopers & Lybrand, Deloitte Haskins and Sells, Ernst & Whinney, Peat Marwick Mitchell, Price Waterhouse, and Touche Ross. However, mergers and the collapse of some of these resulted in the Big Four accounting firms.

Over the years, these companies have worked hard to build a reputation for themselves and emerge as the top ones in their field. The main reason why Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are counted as the big four companies is based on their revenue. These firms generate the highest revenue in the United States. Also, they have an exceptional global approach. Their operations are spread in over 100 countries across the world.

Each of these big four accounting firms is present in around 120-160 countries. They have a massive workforce, a clientele list, and supreme expertise in what they do. In addition to accounting and auditing, these companies offer services for assurance, market research, strategy and management consulting, valuation, legal advisory services, and tax making them highly valuable to their clients. After years of expertise in the field, these companies have rightly earned the reputation of the famous Big Four title.

What services do Big 4 CA firms provide?

The Big Four companies provide a wide range of services to most big public and private companies worldwide. These services include:

  • Actuarial services
  • Audit 
  • Assurance
  • Corporate finance
  • Legal services
  • Management consulting
  • Taxation

These professional services are provided to some of the world’s greatest public and private companies, including renowned Fortune 500 companies. The client reach of the Big Four accounting firms is all across the globe.

Detailed Look At the Big 4s

  • Deloitte

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited is one of the world’s largest professional auditing and tax services companies. It is headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It was founded in London in 1845 and expanded to the United States in 1890. William Welch Deloitte founded this firm in 1845, and since then, it has gone through mergers and acquisitions of other companies. It merged with Haskins & Sells in 1972. In 1989 it merged with Touche Ross in the US. In 2002, Arthur Andersen’s practice in the UK agreed to be merged with Deloitte, including several of that firm’s practices in Europe and North and South America. Arthur Andersen, as mentioned previously, was part of the Big Eight before that.

Deloitte is one of the highly favoured of the Big Four accounting firms by employees for its workplace culture. The company creates several job opportunities for individuals every year. People looking to establish their career in Accounting and Finance can work to groom themselves to be a part of one of the top companies globally. Deloitte believes in empowering its workforce and creating opportunities for them. They believe in working with actions and integrity. The company has received several recognitions for being one of the best places to have a career. It was named among the 100 Best Companies to Work For by Fortune. It was also noted to be the best place to launch a career by Bloomberg Business.

  • Ernst & Young (EY)

Ernst & Young Global Limited was formed due to several mergers & acquisitions over the years. It was originally founded in England in 1849 by Harding & Pullein. It also has its current headquarters in London, United Kingdom. The company has one of the largest professional services networks across the globe. In addition to auditing and accounting, EY of the Big 4 also offers services in areas like financial services consulting and has expanded to sectors like strategy, operations, HR, and technology. Ernst & Young (EY) currently has operations in 150 countries.

EY is another ideal company to dream of building a career in. Fortune magazine has constantly listed it for 24 years as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. EY of the Big Four has been part of this list longer than other Big Four accounting firms.

  • KPMG

KPMG International Limited is headquartered in Amstelveen, Netherlands, with the operation and network firms in 145 countries. It is also counted among the big 4 firms. It offers professional services for financial audit, tax, and advisory. KPMG was named so when KMG (Klynveld Main Goerdeler) merged with Peat Marwick in 1987. Hence KPMG stands for “Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler.” KPMG provides auditing services in India under the name of BSR & Co, as Indian regulations do not permit foreign auditing firms to operate. BSR & Co is an auditing firm founded by BS Raut in Mumbai. KPMG bought it. 

Bloomberg Businessweek has ranked KPMG No. 4 on the list of “50 Best Places to Launch a Career.” As per CollegeGrad.com, KPM was termed the preferred employer among the Big Four accounting firms.

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

PricewaterhouseCoopers operates under the brand name PwC. it is the second largest service-providing network that operates internationally. In its present form, the company was formed by the merger of Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse in 1998. PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited is headquartered in London, England, while PricewaterhouseCoopers operates in around 157 countries. PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited coordinates the global network of the firms. PwC is said to be the largest in terms of revenue generation of all the Big Four accounting firms.

Several notable alumni of the PwC include Ed Bastian – CEO of Delta Air Lines[, Phil Knight – Founder of Nike, Inc, Dhivya Suryadevara – CFO of General Motors, etc.

PwC has received several recognitions internationally, including 3rd rank in DiversityInc’s Top 12 Companies for Global Diversity, the Association of Management Consulting Firms’ Global Spotlight Award in the Growth Strategies category (PwC India), Market Leader Australia award, etc. It was also mentioned in the world’s 500 most valuable brands.

What does launching a career with the Big 4 Accounting Firms mean?

If you get a chance to launch your career with any of the Big 4 audit firms, grab that opportunity in the first go! Here is why this can be of great to you:

  1. You will have an opportunity to acquire a great set of skills, knowledge, and experience not possible anywhere else.
  2. At the beginning itself, you get a weighty starting salary, and you are also up for handsome annual promotions while working for the Big 4 consulting firms. 
  3. You get an amazing chance to start on a solid foundation and build your career there.
  4. These companies provide unmatched training and invest in the development of their workforce.
  5. You will be able to build a good network while working for these companies. You will have a chance to engage with exceptional entrepreneurs, clients, and professionals that is of high value.
  6. People who work for these companies have opportunities left and right to expand their careers.
  7. Working for the Big 4 opens up international opportunities for you. These companies are located in every corner of the world. You will have chances for international rotations.
  8. You will be exposed to huge responsibilities at the very start of your career.
  9. The learning curve while working for these big four audit firms is invaluable.
  10. If by any chance you decide to leave the Big 4, your resume will be unparalleled, and career opportunities will come knocking at your door. It is because these companies are respected globally, and those who have worked for these countries are seen as valuable assets.

How to have a career in the Big 4 accounting firms?

The Big 4 Accounting firms hire through College campuses, career fairs, placement drives, job portals, internal referrals, etc. They regularly post job opportunities on their websites and through portals like LinkedIn. However, as you know, these companies are renowned for their professional attitude and exceptional workforce. 

To land a job in the company, you must have the required qualifications, skills, s confidence, willingness to learn more, additional certifications, and something that makes your resume stand out. Getting a job with the Big 4 may look like a big task. However, it is like getting a job with any reputed company. Here are a few things to note if you are thinking of applying to the Big 4:

  1. Have a flawless resume. Ensure that you do not have any flaws in your resume and cover letter.
  2. Ensure that you will be able to fit in the part that you are applying for,
  3. Excellent communication skills are paramount interview for the interview rounds as well as for the job roles. 
  4. You must have the required set of skills, technical acumen, the right qualification, and the willingness to work on yourself and work in a highly competitive environment. Additional certification and skills can set you apart from others when applying.
  5. Work on building the correct networks, and have an unmatched profile to display your merit for the job.
  6. Get experience while you can. The right experience will give you the knowledge and expertise and help your resume.
  7. Be aware of the career fairs where these companies recruit. Get all the knowledge about such opportunities and programs that offer internships and Big 4 articleship.
  8. If you cannot get into the career fairs or programs, you can email them or apply on their websites or on Linkedin.
  9. Get certifications like CPA USA, CMA USA, ACCA, etc. You need to join the top coaching institute to prepare for the certification exams and clear them to obtain your desired certification. If you do not have any work experience and are a recent college graduate, these certifications will greatly increase your chances of hiring at the Big 4.

FAQs

1. Which are the best Big 4 accounting firm?

All the Big Four accounting firms have a great reputation globally. PwC is the largest based on its revenue and expansion. Deloitte also follows close behind PwC in terms of its revenue. 

2.  Why is the Big 4 called Big 4?

The Big Four accounting firms have the largest network of providing services for audit, accounting, tax, financial analysis, etc., all around the world. They are also bigger than other international companies in terms of its revenue, clientele reach, and global expansion. Hence, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC are popularly referred to as the Big 4 Accounting Firms. 

3. Who is known as the Big 4?

These four companies are called the Big Four Accounting terms:
Deloitte
Ernst & Young (EY)
KPMG
PwC

4. Is PwC hard to get into?

It is surely not a piece of cake to get into any of the Big Four Accounting firms. However, it is not impossible. You will need certifications like CPA, CMA, CA, ACCA, or CIMA. You would also be required to be a degree holder who follows the mentioned courses. Candidates will also need to go through online assessments and interview rounds where their communication skills and other merits are judged.

5.  Is PwC better than Deloitte?

Both are great options if you are looking to grab an opportunity in PwC or Deloitte of the Big Four Accounting firms. As per the Glassdoor survey, Deloitte has a working rank of 4.1, while PwC of the Big 4 had a rating of 3.9. Deloitte scored higher in 9 areas while both tied up on career opportunities. Both companies have high ratings for their work culture environment.

Conclusion

Getting hired by any of the Big Four consulting firms is a dream of many, but only a few achieve this. Many people will tell you how difficult it is to get into these companies. However, with the correct planning, passion, and willingness to work hard, you can achieve what only others dream of.

So start planning today. Enroll at NorthStar Academy (NSA) and get certified with top global certifications that will make you stand out from the crowd and get recognized by the top 4 accounting firms. NSA can help you by:

  1. Training with the best US CMA, US CPA, or ACCA certification courses to score well and clear the exams in one go.
  2. Highly preferred and well-organized study material.
  3. Mentoring you through highly experienced educators who have helped over 15000+ students achieve their dream jobs.
  4. Providing assistance and counselling about how to apply for various career opportunities. 
  5. Bundle discounts on exam fees to make the courses affordable.

So what are you waiting for? Enroll in NorthStar Academy (NSA) training programs and give your career profile the much-needed boost!

Call us at +91 8147470707 in case of any queries and discuss with our counsellors.

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