One of the big questions people ask when they consider a big 4 gig is whether the salary is good. They ask this because they know the hours can be very long when working at the big 4 firms. What we’ve put together is a resource where you can find all relevant big 4 accounting firms salary information.
CPA Starting Salary
The starting salary of a CPA is around $52,000 per year. How does this compare with a public accountant at one of the big 4 firms? See our analysis below.
PwC Starting Salaries
pwc starting salary
The starting salary at PwC is about $56,000 for audit associates.
PwC’s starting salary for tax associates is $62,000
PwC’s starting salary for advisory associates is $65,000
EY Starting Salaries
EY’s starting salary is $64,000 for EY audit associates
EY’s starting salary is $67,000 for EY tax associates
EY’s starting salary is $65,000 for EY advisory associates
Deloitte Starting Salaries
Deloitte’s starting salary for a Tax Associate is $61,000
Deloitte’s starting salary for an Audit Staff is 57,000
Deloitte’s starting salary for a consultant is $70,000
KPMG Starting Salaries
KPMG’s starting salary is $62,000 for tax associates
KPMG’s starting salary is $65,000 for advisory associates
KPMG’s starting salary is $57,000 for audit associates
Base on the data above it appears that all the big 4 are pretty even on how they pay their starting candidates. Those starting candidates earn well above the average CPA starting salary. In many cases, starting associates at the big 4 accounting firms earn more than the average CPA.
Big 4 Accountant Salary in 2021
Fortune recently released their best companies to work for in 2021. I think this website is pretty useful for people planning out their careers not just in accounting but in other areas as well.
The big 4 accounting firms are typically all on this list. It would be really hard for them not to be on this because of the amount of people they employ. Additionally the big 4 accounting firms make money off their employees, so they need to have as many of them as possible. Big 4 employees are also mostly all professionals. In other words, they are all white collar, full-time jobs. Therefore they have to have high end benefits to attract and keep their employees.
These lists are pretty good for determining the benefits that each big 4 has, but they aren’t the best in determining which accounting firm is the best to work for. I’ll be discussing that in other podcasts and posts on our website.
After looking at the information on this list though, I think they are pretty good at telling us some particular information though. The information that I think is very interesting is the average base salary. Each company has the opportunity to provide an average base salary for the most common job at the firm.
None of the accounting firms decide to disclose this number except for PwC. PwC disclosed that the most common position at their firm is associate. An associate at PwC can expect to earn about $65,000 for their base salary and about $5,000 in extra compensation. This extra compensation is most likely a yearly bonus or sign on bonus. This tells us a lot of information. For those of you wondering what salaries are like in the big 4, this is a good starting point. Based on my experience, this numbers seems very accurate to me. The only thing that doesn’t seem accurate to me is the extra compensation for an associate. Big 4 firms don’t typically provide 5,000 bonus to associates, so this seems like it might be either a sign on bonus for associates. It could also be the bonus for experienced associates. Another thing this tells us is bonuses aren’t that great at the big 4. They are less than 10%. I guarantee you with the economy in decline right now that the big 4 will be decreasing this amount. When I joined the big 4 firms during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, the big 4 decreased compensation for new hires. They decreased base pay in offers and they also decreased sign on bonuses.
I don’t know how much base pay will be decreased for new hires, but I can guarantee you that it will be decreased if the economy goes into recession.
First up we’ll be talking about what the typical CPA salary is and then we’ll compare that to the largest big 4 firms below.
The median salary for a CPA according to payscale is $63,135. The average salary for a CPA according to payscale is $62,140.
average cpa salary
According to glassdoor the average CPA salary is 73,825.
According to the bureau of labor statistics the average median pay for accountants is $68,150.
According to the bureau the lowest 10% of accountants earned $42,410 while the top 10% earned $120,910.
The highest paying common occupations for accountants were in Finance and insurance. In finance and insurance accountants make $72,950.
In management of companies and enterprises, accountants make $70,790.
How does the average CPA salary compare to a big 4 accounting salary? Check out the big 4 accounting salary comparison below to find out.
Big 4 Salary Comparison
We will be analyzing PwC’s salary by location. We will focus on the manager and senior associate titles as those are the titles with the most reliable data.