The new vault accounting rankings came out in April 2017. Strangely enough this rankings are the 2018 vault accounting rankings. has numerous accounting rankings, but the most well-known one is the vault accounting 50 ranking. Vault arrives at the accounting 50 ranking by utilizing a weighted formula that combines quality-of-life rankings such as culture, satisfaction, work-life balance and compensation. There isn’t really any one factor that ranks one firm above the other it’s a combination of all different factors that professionals care about. Now there’s obviously 50 firms in this ranking so make sure to check that out at

We are going to be discussing the 4 big public accounting firms and where they rank. Coming in at number four is KPMG. KPMG increased their ranking from last year from number five. I know it’s pretty astonishing that one of the big four was able to drop out of the big four in terms of vault rankings, but it did actually happen last year. Luckily they were able to gain it back this year. One of the reasons people enjoy working for KPMG is the training. You don’t see this only in the vault ranking, but you do see this in other rankings as well. People truly enjoy the formal training process at KPMG. It seems were KPMG lacks is compensation, client interaction, and worklife balance. KPMG also does really well in diversity and other inclusion areas.

Coming in at number three is EY. EY maintained their ranking at number three in the vault ranking this year. Now why does EY rank so highly above other accounting firms. It seems that people really enjoy the audit in assurance practice of Ernst & Young. Which makes sense because Ernst & Young has some really innovative clients. EY has clients like Facebook and Amazon. Undoubtedly the people at work on those clients get similar perks to what the people at the client get. They probably get to work in a cool office. You probably also get cool snacks and other things like that.

Coming in at number two is Deloitte. Now one of the things that people really enjoy about working at Deloitte is the training. They are number one in formal training among all accounting firms. Another thing that really sets Deloitte apart is their prestige among accounting firms. They are seen as one of the top two accounting firms in terms of prestige. Another thing that Deloitte ranks well for is their employee benefits. This is probably because of their revision to their paid leave policy.

The number one accounting form according to the vault 50 is you guessed it Price Waterhouse Coopers. PwC maintained their ranking of number one. This is interesting considering that PwC had a terrible year from a reputation standpoint. I think this goes to prove that most people don’t read the news. Price Waterhouse had a very difficult year in legal battles with TaylorBean and MF global. They also had this huge Oscars mistake. It seems that the people taking this survey were able to overlook all of that.

Vault Top 4 Accounting Firms

  1. PwC
  2. Deloitte 
  3. EY
  4. KPMG

The one thing that I like about vault isn’t necessarily the vault accounting 50. It doesn’t really offer much insight into which big four accounting firm is better than the other. What I like about vault is that they have so many other lists. They rank the accounting firms by lists like benefits, ability to obtain promotions, internal mobility, worklife balance, formal training, and most importantly compensation.

Let’s take a look at a couple of those lists.

Big 4 Salary Rankings

First let’s look at compensation because that’s what everybody is worried about. You might think that the big four accounting firms would be at the top of this list right. You’d be wrong if you thought that. That makes sense to me because the big four accounting firms are all about enriching partners. They don’t necessarily care about making sure associates are paid well. The smaller accounting firms on the other hand are more concerned about the employees, or they might be just trying to entice recruits from the big four by paying more. I won’t mention all the accounting firms that are in the top five of the compensation rankings, but I will let you know that the big four are nowhere to be seen within the top five of compensation ranking. The big four don’t even show up until number 10. Number 10 of best accounting firm compensation is Deloitte. After that you don’t see another big four accounting firm until number 21. At number 21 is KPMG and at 22 is Price Waterhouse Coopers. Ernst & Young isn’t even in the top 25. If you care about being compensated well, you might want to look elsewhere other than the big four. If you do look at the big four, make sure to look at Deloitte first if you care about being paid well.

Big 4 Worklife Balance Rankings

Next let’s look at worklife balance since that’s what many people care about these days as well. The big four also struggle in this list they are nowhere to be seen in the top 10. The first big four accounting firm doesn’t show up until number 15. Price Waterhouse Coopers is number 15 on the worklife balance list for the 4 big accounting firms. They fell 5 spots from number 10 last year which isn’t a good trend for them. The next big four accounting firm is Deloitte at number 23. Then KPMG follows closely behind at 25. What this goes to show you is that if you care about money and worklife balance you should definitely not look at EY.


In conclusion, I don’t recommend spending too much time on the vault accounting 50. You should look at each ranking at for the big four accounting firms. You should look at compensation, benefits, worklife balance etc. You then need to prioritize which of those matters to you, and then analyze how each accounting firm stacks up in those rankings. See how those matchup with your values and then choose which accounting firm you would like to work for, or see if your current employer ranks well on that list to see if you want to work there in the future.