Accounting Industry in the US – Overview
Accounting firms in the US saw strong growth in the five year period from 2013 to 2018, helped by rising equity markets, an increasing number of businesses, and overall economic growth. Revenues from US accounting services – including accounting, tax preparation, and payroll services – increased by more that 50%. In the next five years, higher activity in the financial markets and stronger aggregate private investment are expected to drive further growth for accounting firms in the US, which employ nearly 900,000 individuals.
List of top accounting firms in the US
The US accounting industry is dominated by the Big Four accounting firms – Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG – which reported combined revenues of around $128 billion in 2016. Deloitte generated $20 billion in revenues in the Americas and $38 billion worldwide.
The Big Four:
Deloitte, the largest of the Big Four accounting firms in the US – and in fact the largest accounting firm worldwide – provides industry-leading assurance, consulting, tax, and risk and financial advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80% of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies. Deloitte’s primary business focus is on consulting, and it is considered to have the most hard-edged business orientation, as compared to the other three firms that place more public emphasis on things such as diversity and community involvement. As of 2015, Deloitte had an impressive annual growth rate of 8%.
With offices worldwide, in more than 150 countries, and more than 223,000 employees, PwC helps organizations and individuals create the value they are looking for through a wide array of assurance, tax, and advisory services. In FY2016, PwC provided services to 422 companies in the Fortune 500. PwC is the leader among the Big Four in providing audit services. In 2017, PWC’s assurance business segment generated more than $15 billion, approximately $5 billion more than Ernst & Young. It has made a move to substantially expand its consulting business with the acquisition of the consulting firm, Booz & Co.
#3 Ernst & Young
EY’s stated purpose is to help build a better working world by performing high-quality audits. The firm’s top priority is to serve the public interest and grow the global EY network, with over 700 offices worldwide, successfully and responsibly. EY is notably growing its presence in the UK and focusing on its “global vision” of providing accounting services worldwide, with a stated emphasis on “diversity and inclusiveness”. After a few years of relatively slow growth, EY is back up to an annual growth rate of 5%+.
With 33% of revenues coming from audit and assurance, 27% from tax, and 40% from financial advisory, KPMG is committed to providing high-quality professional services in an ethical manner to entities that are listed on capital markets. KPMG serves more than 82% of the Fortune 500 and more than 80% of the Fortune 100. According to Martin Blackburn, UK People Director at KPMG, the company prides itself on being socially responsible and aiming to serve the “community at large”. KPMG is the smallest of the Big Four accounting firms in the US, but continues to grow through business expansion and acquisitions.
The rest of the top 10 accounting firms in the US:
RSM USA LLP is an audit, tax, and consulting firm that focuses on the middle market in the United States and is a member of the global accounting network of RSM International. As the fifth largest of the accounting firms in the US, it employs 9,000 staff across 86 cities nationwide. RSM USA emphasizes key values such as respect, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and stewardship.
#6 Grant Thornton
Grant Thornton LLP, also commonly referred to as GT, is the US-based member firm of Grant Thornton International, the sixth largest accounting network in the world. In the US, the firm operates 58 offices with approximately 7,500 staff. With headquarters in Chicago, GT provides audit, tax, and advisory services that include Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, mergers and acquisitions, tax services, and business valuations. Focus industries include construction, distribution, energy, financial services, F&B, healthcare, hospitality and restaurants, life sciences, manufacturing, private equity, real estate, retail, and technology.
BDO USA LLP is the US-based member firm of BDO International, a global accounting network. Headquartered in Chicago, the company takes pride in its motto of “people who know, know BDO.” With approximately 6,000 staff and offices across the country, the firm provides accounting, tax, consulting, and advisory services to its clients. BDO USA is unique because it is one of the few accounting firms in the US that has a separate team focusing on the gaming, hospitality, and leisure industry.
#8 Crowe Horwath
With headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, Crowe Horwath LLP is the US-based independent member firm of Crowe Horwath International. With approximately 3,000 employees, it provides accounting, consulting, and technology services to a broad range of clients. Crowe Horwath USA emphasizes a culture of innovation and specialization to streamline its efforts to better serve its clients. The firm’s motto is “Smart decisions. Lasting value.”
CliftonLarsonAllen LLP was established in 2012 when Clifton Gunderson LLP and LarsonAllen LLP merged. CliftonLarsonAllen USA is a member of the Nexia International Accounting network and is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With more than 4,500 staff in audit, accounting, tax, consulting, and advisory services, the company ranks within the top 10 accounting firms in the US. CLA’s advantages include deep industry insight, seamlessly integrated capabilities, premier resources, and professionalism. With more than 100 offices across the country, the CLA promise is a promise to know you and help you.
#10 Mayer Hoffman McCann PC
Mayer Hoffman McCann PC (MHM) is the US-based member of Kreston International, a member of the Forum of Firms. Founded and headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, the firm operates over 30 offices across the country. Kreston International employs more than 21,000 professionals in 110 countries. It is also associated with CBIZ, a national multidisciplinary services company providing business outsourcing in accounting and tax services, benefits and insurance, and consulting.
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