PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRMS: The Ultimate List in 2023
There are around 138,000 certified public accounting firms in the United States. To become one of the ranking top 10 largest public accounting firms is a significant accomplishment in and of itself. But before we go through the list let’s firm understand what a public accounting firm does.
Many of the services public accounting firms offer, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, include:
- Examining financial statements to make sure they comply with laws and regulations.
- Preparing tax returns and make sure that taxes are paid on time.
- Reviewing accounting systems to ensure they use accepted accounting procedures.
- Analyzing financial operations and make best-practices recommendations to management
- Recommending ways to cut costs, increase revenues and increase profits.
The Top 10 Public Accounting Firms in the United States
There are around 138,000 certified public accounting firms in the United States. To become one of the top 10 largest public accounting firms is a significant accomplishment in and of itself. Firms that expand to this size often do so through regular mergers and acquisitions, as well as foreign expansion. Keep that in mind when you browse the firms listed, as they may relocate numerous times in a matter of months.
#1. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) LLP
New York-based professional services firm that is a member firm of Pricewaterhouse Coopers International Limited, a network of firms that operates in 157 countries. They employ over 284,000 people and serve 84 percent of Fortune Global 500 companies as well as more than 100,000 entrepreneurial and private businesses. Its revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, was $43 billion.
PwC focuses on audit and insurance, tax, and consulting services in the United States. Furthermore, in the United States, PwC focuses on 16 important industries, including but not limited to consumer products, fintech, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, and technology; and offers focused services such as cybersecurity and privacy, human resources, transactions, and forensics. It is the country’s second-largest accounting business in terms of revenue.
Deloitte serves many of the world’s largest enterprises, including approximately 90% of the Fortune 500 and over 7,000 private companies, with audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services. Client service experts at Deloitte operate in more than 20 industries, including consumer, energy, resources, and industrials, government and public services, financial services, life sciences, and health care, public sector, and technology, media, and telecommunications.
Deloitte LLP, headquartered in New York, is the U.S. member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a U.K.-based firm. DTTL stands for private firm limited by guarantee. With over 175 years of service, their network of member firms encompasses more than 150 countries and territories, employing over 330,000 people worldwide. The Deloitte organization earned $47.6 billion in total revenue in fiscal 2020.
#3. Ernst & Young LLP
Ernst & Young LLP is a member firm of EY, a global network of member companies originally known as Ernst & Young Global Limited. They provide advisory, assurance, tax, and transaction advisory services to clients in the United States. Also. its industry specializations include consumer products, financial services (asset management, banking, and capital markets, private equity, and insurance), real estate (construction and hospitality and leisure), and life sciences (biotechnology, medical technology, and pharmaceuticals).
So, in 2021 EY is ranking third on Accounting Today’s list of the top 100 public accounting firms based on revenue in the United States. So, in its most recent fiscal year, the company earned $15.8 billion in revenue.
KPMG is ranking fourth in the top 10 public accounting firms, with annual revenue of more than $5,750 billion. They currently employ over 33,000 individuals across more than 100 offices in the United States having their headquarters in New York City, NY.
John Veihmeyer, the company’s current CEO, is in charge. This year, the corporation was busy suing over associate overtime compensation, and as a result, it ended up acquiring Thomson Reuters. They have formed a strategic partnership with BlackLine Systems, a provider of financial closing solutions.
#5. Grant Thornton LLP
Grant Thornton LLP is the American affiliate of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax, and consultancy businesses. They have more than $1.9 billion annual revenue and 53 locations worldwide, work with a diverse variety of publicly and privately held enterprises, government agencies, financial institutions, and civic and religious organizations. The company’s “bring your complete self to work” concept emphasizes diversity as well as a culture of flexibility and empowerment among its employees.
The firm’s founder, Alexander Richardson Grant, began his accounting career with Ernst & Ernst (a precursor of Ernst & Young).
#6. BDO USA LLP
BDO USA, LLP is the U.S. member company of BDO International Ltd., one of the world’s major accounting and consultancy firms for the middle market, with over 91,000 employees working in over 1,600 offices in 167 countries. They have more than 65 offices and a total workforce of 8,063 people, including 670 partners. BDO USA’s revenue in 2020 is about $1.8 billion. BDO offers assurance, tax, advisory, and digital services to both publicly traded and privately held companies.
#7. RSM US LLP
RSM US LLP is the major provider of audit, tax, and consulting services to the middle market in the United States. The firm employs roughly 11,000 people across 87 offices in the United States and four in Canada. RSM US LLP is a member firm of RSM International, a global network of independent accounting and consulting companies with over 48,000 employees in more than 120 countries. The company made over $2.8 billion in revenue in its most recent fiscal year.
#8. Baker Tilly US LLP
Baker Tilly US, LLP (Baker Tilly) is a Chicago-based consultancy and one of the largest certified public accounting firms. According to Accounting Today, it is now ranking among the top 15 largest certified public accounting firms in the United States. The firm employs 4,600 people, including 440 partners. It services clients in all 50 states and has more than 50 offices and locations across the country, with a focus on the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West. Its operations are also spread in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Baker Tilly US, LLP is the largest member firm of Baker Tilly International, the world’s tenth-largest network comprised of 123 independent public accounting and business services firms in 148 territories employing 36,000 people. The combined revenue of its independent member enterprises is $4.0 billion.
#9. Crowe LLP
Crowe LLP, founded in 1942, is a global public accounting, consulting, and technology firm with locations all over the world. They employ roughly 4,220 people across the United States, as well as in Canada, Grand Cayman, France, India, and the United Kingdom. Crowe LLP is one of the top ten public accounting firms in the United States in terms of annual revenue.
#10. Moss Adams LLP
Moss Adams is one of the professional services firms based in Seattle that offers public accounting, consulting, and wealth management. It has been in business for about 110 years and today employs over 3,400 people across 25 locations, the majority of which are in the Western United States. Moss Adams has offices in Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, and Texas, in addition to Washington State.
Moss Adams is the 11th largest public accounting firm in the United States, with $768 million in sales in the most recent fiscal year. Chris Schmidt, the company’s chairman, and CEO is at the helm. Moss Adams is also a founding member of Praxity, a global alliance of independent accounting and auditing firms with over 60,000 professionals in over 100 countries and territories. It also provides wealth management services to private clients and individuals through an affiliate company, Moss Adams Wealth Advisors LLC.
Common Trends Among Top Ranking Certified Public Accounting Firms
There appears to be a trend with those in the top certified public accounting firms, the higher ranking frequently appears to have more partners, fewer offices, and also fewer total employees.
It appears that those at the top are saving money in their firms’ labor divisions by having more partners and fewer overall staff.
Which companies are the most successful?
Public accounting firms with substantial industrial involvement have made the most progress in recent years. Ultimately, 78 organizations showed an increase in this area over the previous five years.
Midsized businesses also aided many organizations in growing by 74%.
In most years, franchising and auto dealerships were near the bottom of the list for growth, but they did contribute considerably.
How to Get Hired by Top Public Accounting Firms
Are you a budding accountant?
Do you want to work for one of the largest public accounting firms in the United States?
The procedures to obtaining an entry-level paid position with one of the well-known companies are outlined below.
#1. Determine Your Ideal Job
Before you can begin your journey to a rewarding career in accounting, you must first decide where you want to finish up. Do some research and decide on the finest location and job title for you. To begin, ask yourself the following basic questions:
- Do you like tax, auditing, consulting, advising, and so on?
- Are you attempting to advance to a senior position in a large public company?
- Do you wish to eventually leave and establish your own little business?
- Would you rather live in a big metropolis or a small town?
Answering these easy questions will help you determine what you want, and then we can work out how to get there.
#2. What Qualifications Do You Require?
Hopefully, you’ve worked out what your dream job is. Now, conduct some brief web research to see whether credentials, college degrees, or professional licenses are required.
Then we can start thinking about where we can get those credentials.
Choose the Best School for Your Needs
- Did you recently get out of high school?
- Are you a business major presently enrolled in university?
- Are you a stay-at-home parent looking to start a new career?
The perfect school scenario will fluctuate depending on your current position. However, this is normally what we recommend:
If you can get into and afford a well-known university (Penn, USC, Berkley, etc…), you should enroll there. These schools provide the best future work opportunities.
If attending a well-known four-year university is not an option, you still have several decent possibilities.
- Enroll at an online school. You must exercise caution when it comes to online schools. Many are unaccredited and will not be worth your effort. However, there are a few off-campus institutions that offer well-respected bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting and business. These programs are often less expensive than universities and allow you to get your degree on your own time.
- If you prefer to stay close to home and also attend an on-campus program, you can always enroll in junior college. Although a bachelor’s degree is rarely given, you can take some of your general education subjects there first.
#3. Volunteer or intern
For budding accountants, hands-on experience is crucial. Look for accounting or financial services experience anyplace you can. Anything you can get can help you land a job later on.
So, to intern with a large public accounting firm, contact college business departments about recruiting, attend career fairs, or contact the firms directly to inquire about opportunities.
Become a Certified Public Accountant
Although it is not essential to be employed by the best firms, earning your CPA before starting a new work is recommended. The CPA Exam is notoriously challenging, and it will be even more difficult to focus on your study once you’ve started a new job.
However, if you wait until after you have been recruited, many public corporations will ‘sponsor’ you or offer you a cash incentive for passing.
What Distinguishes Public from Private Accounting Firms?
Since public accountants and public accounting firms are not employed by a single customer, they are not a part of that client’s organization or business. Contrarily, private accountants are employed by the individual firm or organization for whom they perform accounting services.
What Does a Public Accountant Do?
Public accountants’ primary responsibility is to independently examine financial records, reports, and disclosures. They could assist with tax return preparation for individuals and businesses, carry out audits for businesses, and offer consultation and advice on tax and financial issues.
Why Are So Many People Quitting the Public Accounting Industry?
People look to private industry because they believe public accounting makes it impossible to have a healthy work-life balance. Tax season hours are a significant additional factor.
Are Public Accountants Frequent Travelers?
Some external auditors will have to travel a lot for their professions, and CPAs who work for big businesses can also have to travel a lot. However, it is unlikely that bookkeepers, tax accountants, and clerks will travel much when working for a public accounting company.
Is Public Accounting a Demanding Profession?
Being a CPA is a fantastic job, but it can occasionally be stressful. Particularly young CPAs juggle numerous duties for various supervisors that are typically in various levels of completion. The pressure is increased by the short deadlines and merry-go-round work flow of the busy season.