Who are the Big Four accounting firms?
The Big Four accounting firms refer to Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), KPMG, and Ernst & Young. These firms are the four largest professional services firms in the world that provide audit, transaction advisory, taxation, consulting, risk advisory, and actuarial services. The Big Four perform audits on the majority of public companies and private companies throughout the world.
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, more commonly referred to as Deloitte, is a UK-incorporated international professional services firm with headquarters in New York City. Widely regarded as one of the top firms within the Big Four, Deloitte is well known for its audit, tax, risk, financial advisory and consulting services. With offices in more than 100 locations worldwide, it reported the highest revenue among the Big Four accounting firms in 2016 and is considered the sixth largest privately owned organization in the United States.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC)
Pricewaterhouse Coopers is another international professional services network in the Big Four. Headquartered in London, it ranks just behind Deloitte in terms of revenue and size. With offices in more than 150 locations worldwide, PwC brought in $35.9 billion in revenue in 2016. PwC was created in 1998 from a merger between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand. In September 2010, the merged company’s name was shortened to PwC as a rebranding effort. The firm is the fifth largest privately owned company in the United States.
KPMG, which stands for Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler, was formed from a merger between Klynveld Main Goerdeler (KMG) and Peat Marwick in 1987. With headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, KPMG currently employs about 190,000 staff with three main distinctive services lines: financial audit, tax, and advisory. Each national KPMG firm is an independent legal entity and is a member of KPMG International Cooperative, a Swiss entity.
Ernst & Young (EY)
Ernst & Young, more commonly referred to as EY, is another Big Four firm with headquarters in London. EY was ranked as the 29th best company to work for in the United States, as well as the 11th largest private organization in the world. It was formed from a merger between Ernst & Whinney and Arthur Young & Co. in 1989. With hundreds of global offices, EY brought in $29.6 billion in revenue in its 2016 fiscal year. It is known as the auditor of many tech firms in the Silicon Valley area.
Skills and jobs at the Big Four
If you’re pursuing a career path at one of the Big Four accounting firms you’ll want to leverage several free CFI resources to help you get the job!
More specifically, experience with financial modeling can really help you stand out from the crowd. If you don’t already have some experience, the best way to get some is by taking up CFI financial modeling courses and learning step by step how to build a model from scratch.
Additional resources on the Big Four accounting firms
As you can see from this guide, the Big Four accounting firms (Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, and Ernst & Young) are all extremely large professional public accounting firms with a wide range of services including audit, financial advisory, taxation, consulting, risk advisory, and actuarial services. The Big Four offer a wider range of career paths for aspiring corporate finance professionals.
Additional CFI resources include: