Big 4 Accounting Firms Ranking 20182018-08-06T02:15:12+00:00

Big 4 Accounting Firms Ranking 2018

Whether you are recruiting with a big 4 out of college or switching big 4, it is important to understand the big 4 accounting firms ranking. In the page below we’ve ranked the big 4 against each other in numerous categories. We’ve spent hours compiling the data into one east to navigate page so that you don’t have to.

Want to know the interview questions that you will be asked by the big 4? Get our interview questions book.

Why is this data useful? It’s useful for a number of reasons. First off you want to know which big 4 to recruit for. The most obvious answer might be the biggest big 4 of all them all, but that is necessarily right. What if you want more paid leave or what if you want to go to the biggest tax practice. Did you know that the largest big 4 accounting firm isn’t the one with the biggest tax practice? Interesting right? You don’t want to just go to the biggest big 4. You want to go to the big 4 with the best practice in the area that you specialize in.

Another reason that this information might be helpful is in a big 4 interview. Most big 4 professionals don’t know the numbers on this page, so if you can recite a few of the details from this page in your interview, you will impress your big 4 interviewers.

Oftentimes, people say they are going to the top accounting consulting firms without knowing what they are talking about. Our 2017 big 4 ranking page will help you tell your friends and family why you are going to the best big 4 possible. No matter which big 4 you choose to go to, they likely rank number 1 or 2 in at least one category.

Big Four Accounting Firms Ranking by Revenue

If you want to rank them by revenue, Deloitte is the largest accounting firm in the world.

Big 4 Accounting Firm20172016
Deloitte$38.8 billion$36.9 billion
PwC$37.7 billion$35.4 billion
EY$31.4 billion$29.6 billion
KPMG$26.4 billion$25.4 billion

2017 Big 4 Ranking by Revenue

  1. Deloitte made $38.8 billion in revenue in 2017.
  2. PwC earned $37.7 billion in revenue in 2017
  3. EY earned $31.4 billion in revenue in 2017
  4. KPMG earned $26.4 billion in revenue in 2017

2016 Big 4 Ranking by Revenues

They made $36.9 billion in 2016.

The second largest accounting firm in the world is PwC. PwC made $35.4 billion in 2016.

EY came in 3rd in 2016 with $29.6 billion

Deliotte, PwC, EY are still the big 3 accounting firms with KPMG coming in 4th. KPMG is the last big 4 accounting firm with $25.4 billion in revenues.

  1. Deloitte – $36.9 billion
  2. PwC – $35.4 billion
  3. EY – $29.6 billion
  4. KPMG – $25.42 billion

Read more: What are the big 4 accounting firms?

Big 4 Accounting Firms Ranking 2018

Big 4 Rankings by Number of Employees

The ranking of the big four accounting firms changes when you look at the number of people that each firm employs.

2017 Number of Employees

  1. Deloitte number of employees – 263,900 employees
  2. Ernst and Young number of employees – 247,570 employees
  3. PwC number of employees – 236,235 employees
  4. KPMG number of employees –197,263

2016 number of employees

  1. Deloitte number of employees – 244,400 employees
  2. Ernst and Young number of employees – 231,000 employees
  3. PwC number of employees – 223,000 employees
  4. KPMG number of employees – 188,982 employees

2017 Revenue Growth by  Firm

Another important factor in ranking the firms is how fast they grow. Being the fastest growing firm can really set you apart as it further establishes your brand in the market place.


KPMG was the slowest growing firm on a real growth rate basis and a local currency rate. They grew at only 3.94% rate in USD dollar terms and 4.8% on local currency terms.


Deloitte was the third fastest growing big four firm based on USD and second based on local currency terms. They grew at a 5.15% rate in USD and 7.1% in local currency terms. What this likely means is that Deloitte has good revenue growth in a region that does not have a strong currency.


EY was the third fastest growing firm in terms of local currency and 2nd fastest growing in USD terms. They had a growth rate of 6.08% in USD and 6.5% in local currency terms.


PwC was the fastest growing firm in 2017 at 6.5% in USD and 7.8% in local currency terms.

Big 4 Firm2017 Revenue2016 RevenueReal Growth RateLocal Currency Growth
Deloitte$38.8 billion$36.9 billion5.15%7.1%
PwC$37.7 billion$35.4 billion6.5%7.8%
EY$31.4 billion$29.6 billion6.08%6.5%
KPMG$26.4 billion$25.4 billion3.94%4.8%

2017 Top Tax Consulting Firms

In order to rank the top tax consulting firms you also have to look at revenues to determine which is the best tax service firm.

What do tax service companies do? Tax service companies provide the following services

Tax preparation services – tax preparation services include service with helping companies and individuals meet their tax obligations such as filling out forms and complying with local tax laws.

Tax Consulting services – the largest tax firms offer tax consulting services which includes tax structuring, tax planning and other services to comply with local tax laws.

Tax Financial audit services – This service is where the largest audit firms call their tax practices in to help audit the tax portion of the financial statements.


KPMG earned $5.6 billion in 2016 from their global tax practice. This makes them the fourth largest tax consulting firm in the world.


Deloitte tax reported revenues of $7.35 billion in 2017. This puts them as the 3rd largest tax practice in the world.

Deloitte’s earned $6.9 billion of revenue in 2016 from their tax practice.


Ey’s tax revenue in 2017 was $8.2 billion as compared to their  2016 tax firm revenue of 7.8 billion. This makes them the second largest tax accounting firm.


PwC tax services revenue in 2017 was $9.5 billion making Pwc the top tax firm in the world.

In 2016 PwC tax firm revenue was $8.9 billion. In 2015 PwC’s tax group made 8.3 billion. In 2014 they made $7.8 billion dollars and in 2013 they made $7.2 billion. They’ve been the best tax consulting firm for a number of years.

Another part of PwC being number one of the best tax consulting firms in the world is their recent acquisition of GE’s tax department. The acquisition will generate a whole new stream of revenue for years to come and enable them to be the best tax service company firm for a while.

Want to know the interview questions that you will be asked by the big 4? Get our interview questions book.

Diversity rankings

For many people, a diverse company is very important. They like working in an environment where a diverse viewpoint is encouraged.

Ernst and Young comes in at the top of this category. They are ranked number 3 in diversity inc’s top 50 companies to work for listing.

Pricewaterhousecoopers comes in at 5th in the rankings making them the second best big four accounting firm as far as diversity goes.

Deloitte comes in a little lower at number 11 on DiversityInc’s top 50.

KPMG brings up the rear in this category. They are listed at number 16 in the diveristyinc listing.

Who are the largest clients of the big 4 accounting firms? Learn each firms largest clients below:

Vault rankings

Vault has several rankings for accounting firms.They have their overall ranking for accounting firms that considers many factors in ranking firms such as worklife balance and compensation.

The vault’s overall ranking ranks the big 4 as follows:

  1. PwC
  2. Deloitte
  3. Ernst and Young
  4. KPMG

Another ranking that Vault utilizes is their ranking of prestige. They rank all the accounting firms based on which one is viewed as the most prestigious in the marketplace. The ranking is based on accounting professionals’ rankings.

The best firms according to Vault’s prestige ranking are:

  1. PwC
  2. Deloitte
  3. Ernst & Young
  4. KPMG

Another important ranking metric is compensation. People want to know which big 4 accounting firm pays the best salary. Amazingly the big 4 are not in the top 3 spots for compensation. The first big 4 accounting firm on the Vault compensation list is E&Y. The rankings of the big 4 by compensation according to Vault are as follows:

  1. Ernst & Young
  2. PwC
  3. Deloitte
  4. KPMG

Paid leave

Another thing to consider nowadays is paid family leave. This might be important to you if your thinking about having children or you are taking care of a sick family member.

 The rankings are somewhat subjective but currently Deloitte is offering the most time off with 16 weeks of paid leave. EY and KPMG have similar programs, but they have less secondary benefits.

PwC comes in last in the paid leave category with only 6 weeks.

Ey offers the most money for adoption reimbursement with $25,000.

Largest accounting firms in the United States

The big 4 accounting firms rankings are similar when you look solely at US results.

  1. Deloitte comes in first with $17.6 billion.
  2. PwC comes in second with 12.2 billion
  3. EY comes in 3rd with 11.2 billion
  4. KPMG comes in 4th with $7.9 billion.

Largest Big 4 Audit Practice

Who had the largest audit practice based on 2017 revenue numbers?

  1. EY had revenues of $11.6 billion from their audit practice
  2. PwC had $16 billion of revenue from their audit practice.
  3. Deloitte had audit revenues around $9 billion dollars

As you can tell, PwC has a huge audit practice. EY has the second largest audit practice and Deloitte comes in last. One reason Deloitte might be lagging behind is because they don’t want their audit practice to interfere with their consulting practice. If you audit a client, you typically can not provide consulting services because of independence issues.

Largest Big 4 Tax Practice

Who had the largest tax practice based on 2017 revenues?

  1. EY had the revenues of $8.2 billion from their tax practice.
  2. PwC earned $9.4 billion from their tax practice.
  3. Deliotte’s tax revenues were about $7 billion.

PwC also has the largest tax practice and this will only get bigger with their acquisition of GE’s tax departments. EY is close behind them though at second asDeloitte comes in last with $7 billion in revenue.

KPMG will likely be behind all of them once they report as well.

Largest Big 4 Advisory Practice

Who had the largest advisory practice in 2017 based on revenues.

  1. When You combine EY’s transaction advisory services practice and their advisory practice they had revenues of $11.6  billion from their advisory practice.
  2. PwC’s advisory practice earned $12.3 billion from their advisory practice
  3. Deloittes advisory and consulting revenues totaled about $22 billion.

Deloitte is far and away the biggest consulting provider out of the big 4.

Why is this?

As you might remember, Deloitte was the only big 4 firm to keep their consulting practice after the Enron scandal. All the other big 4 sold off their consulting practices, so they had to restart them from scratch. This is the reason that Deloitte has such a robust advisory practice as compared to the other big 4.

Big 4 Accounting Firms Ranking 2015

PwC came in number one in 2015 with revenues of $35.4 billion. This made them the largest accounting firm in the world in 2015.

Deloitte came in second place with revenues of $35.2 billion.

EY came in third with $28.7 billion.

KPMG came in last place with $24.4 billion.

Want to know the interview questions that you will be asked by the big 4? Get our interview questions book.

Legal troubles

Another thing that you need to watch out for in the big 4 is headline risk. You want to make sure that you aren’t going to head to a big 4 firm that is catching a bunch of heat. One way you can keep an eye on that is staying tuned to our blog.