Big 8 Accounting Firms 2017-11-15T21:31:32+00:00

Big 8 Accounting Firms

The Big 8 Accounting firms were


  • Arthur Andersen

  • Arthur Young

  • Deloitte Haskins and Sells

  • Ernst & Whinney

  • Peat Marwick Mitchell

  • Price Waterhouse

  • Touche Ross

  • Coopers & Lybrand

The big four accounting firms used to be referred to as the big 8 accounting firms up until about 1989. This period showed what differentiates the big four firms from other accounting firms. The largest accounting firms merged to become international behemoths. They have a huge global reach where other large accounting firms are really just regional firms in a sense that they might only serve a region in a country, one entire country or a few countries.

Who were the big 8 accounting firms?

The big 8 firms were the largest 8 accounting firms in the world before they merged. The big 8 accounting firms is not a term used anymore since the audit firms became the big four.

When did they stop being the big 8 accounting firms?

They ceased being the 8 biggest accounting firms in the world in 1989. In June of 1989 Arthur Young merged Ernst & Whinney. Deloitte Haskins Sells also merged in 1989. They merged with Touche Ross. After these mergers the big eight accounting firms became the big 6 accounting firms.

Big 6 Accounting Firms
1Ernst & Young
2Deloitte & Touche
3Arthur Andersen
6Coopers & Lybrand

The big six accounting firms last until about 1998. In 1998 Price Waterhouse merged with Coopers & Lybrand to form Pricewaterhousecoopers. Today that firm has been rebranded as PwC.

After the merger of Pricewaterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand the big six accounting firms then became the big 5 accounting firms.

Big 5 Accounting Firms
1Ernst & Young
2Deloitte & Touche
3Arthur Andersen

And then there were the Big Four

Which one of these accounting firms did not survive? Well most of us know it was Arthur Andersen better known as the Enron accounting firm. The enron accounting scandal led to the investigation and scrutiny of Arthur Andersen. What ultimately did them in was that the partners started leaving in huge droves, so even if they remained in existence they would not have been a big accounting firm anymore.

The big 4 accounting firms as we know them today.

Big 4 Accounting Firms
1Ernst & YoungMerger between Arthur Young and Ernst & Whinney1989
2Deloitte & ToucheMerger between Deloitte Haskins & Sells and Touche Ross1989
3KPMGMerger between Peat Marwick International and Klynveld Main Goerdler1987
4PriceWaterhouseCoopersMerger between PriceWaterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand1998

Big 8 Accounting Firms