Big 4 Partner Salary Firm Salaries for PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, & EY

Today this big 4 firm stands tall and is located in more than 150 countries with more than 700 offices. They offer a plethora of services such as assurance, taxes, advisement, transactions, and many more. Offering such a wide range of services allows the company to cater to a very diverse group of employees.

Until 2020, KPMG[4] was the only Big Four firm not registered as a UK private company, but rather the co-ordinating entity was a Swiss association (verein). Those entities do not themselves perform external professional services, nor do they own or control the member firms. Nevertheless, these networks colloquially are referred to as “firms” for the sake of simplicity and to reduce confusion with lay-people. These accounting and professional services networks are similar in nature to how law firm networks in the legal profession work. KPMG was established in 1911, boasting over 670 offices in over 150 countries to become one of the top four accounting firms in the world. While their growth rate may not precisely match those of Deloitte and PwC, they are still readily expanding, merging, and taking on new partners.

Moreover, in terms of salary, consultants are generally paid the most, followed by advisory, tax, and then audit/assurance. However, it is worth mentioning that salary differences can often be marginal depending on the experience and value of a particular employee. For entry-level positions, EY and PwC pay roughly the same and about 10% more than Deloitte and KPMG. Fourth in line, EY has positioned itself as a leader in business ethics and sustainability. EY also employs well over 200,000 people, but has a significantly lower revenue at just over $28 billion. This revenue comes from a balanced variety of services rather than any one particular focus.

  • The Big 4 companies offer numerous opportunities, both in terms of developing professional skills and the chance to work in an international environment.
  • If the partner is a standard partner handling client accounts, the engagements that they work on drive most of their profits.
  • They have one of the higher starting salaries for employees at an average of $71,000.
  • I have never in my life heard or read about someone who willingly chose the Big 4 route over Investment Banking, had they been fully aware of both.

Each firm also assists with mergers, acquisitions, corporate restructurings, and forensic accounting. The Big Four all offer audit, assurance, taxation, management consulting, valuation, market research, actuarial, corporate finance, and legal services to their clients. A significant majority of the audits of public companies, as well as many audits of private companies, are conducted by these four networks. KPMG is a global network of accounting firms providing audit, tax, advisory, special interest and industry-specific services. It employs approximately 236,000 professionals working together to provide quality service in 145 countries around the world.

The “Big 4” is a term used to describe the four biggest accounting firms (Deloitte, PwC, E&Y, and KPMG). These firms are the largest providers of accounting services in the world and offer the top accounting jobs for new accounting graduates. The Big 4 refers to the four biggest accounting firms globally, as measured by revenue. It used to be the Big 8 before a series of mergers and one spectacular collapse saw the number reduced by half. It has since built these practices back up in a similar fashion to the other big four firms and offers a full range of professional services.

UK accounting watchdog imposes penalty on Big Four firm over serious failings in audit of UK contractor

If you’re interested in finding out more about the big 4 accounting firms, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments. The last major change to the fortunes of the global accounting firms followed the collapse of the Enron corporation which was audited by Arthur Anderson. Although their growth rate is the lowest in the top four, they are still growing, merging, acquiring other firms, and taking on new partners. KPMG is last of the big four accounting firms with more than 670 offices located in over 150 countries. The firm was originally established in 1911 when William Barclay Peat & co. merged with Marwick Mitchell & Co. to form Peat Marwick.

Founded by Samuel Price, the company grew to merge with Holyland and Waterhouse as well as with Coopers & Lybrand – thus, the name PricewaterhouseCoopers. As a result, salaries are not stagnant for too long because employees can prosper with hard work, consistency, and accumulated skill. This enables individuals’ career progression and the ability to become partners in about ten years. Thus, they can pay their employees well, so their first years often receive anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000, while their partners can make upwards of $250,000 to $350,000. Five became four in 2001 after the insolvency of Arthur Andersen due to the firm’s involvement in the Enron scandal.

  • Overall, the salary differences between firms are marginal, but this also has to do with services, location, and other factors.
  • Due to a series of mergers and acquisitions in the 1980s and 1990s, the Big 8 became first the Big 6 and eventually the Big 5, with Ernst & Whinney merging with Arthur Young to form Ernst & Young.
  • Having so many areas of interest, anyone in the accounting trade is sure to find a position that suites their specialization.
  • If you’re comparing the separate lines of service, no matter what location you are in, advisory partners are going to bring home the most money because of the nature of the service.

Partners often refer to buying-in as “being back at the bottom” because there as an entirely new hierarchy to climb once you’re a part owner, especially if you want to get moved into one of these firm-level roles. Some of the most common promotions are “Office Managing Partner” (OMP), PCAOB reviewing partners, or promotions that focus on the oversight of a specialized type of accounting or a few specific states. They have one of the higher starting salaries for employees at an average of $71,000. Additionally, they have the highest growth rate out of all the Big 4 firms, approximately 7-8% annually. The Big 5 eventually became the Big 4 following the scandal involving accounting fraud at the energy company Enron. Thus, in 2002, Arthur Andersen, the fifth member of the then Big 5, was dissolved.

Who are the Big 4 accounting firms?

Because of their broad geographical presence and high level of expertise, they provide most of the auditing work for the world’s publicly-held businesses. Aside from auditing services, the Big Four offer tax, strategy and management consulting, valuation, market research, assurance, and legal advisory services. They are the leading source what is restricted cash on financial statements of tax law interpretation and experts on changes in accounting and auditing standards. Each Big Four company has a diverse staff armed with varying levels of expertise to meet their client’s needs. In general, Big Four firms all provide audit, assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax compliance services.

Big Four firms are also busy during periods relating to companies’ quarterly reporting. The PwC tax scandal is one example where PwC sold advice to clients on tax avoidance, and did so using information derived from the company’s government consulting arm. The Big Four firm was ordered to pay £5.3 million in costs to the regulator and two of its former partners were fined £350,000 and £70,000 respectively. The fine, which is the largest ever imposed on an audit firm by the Financial Reporting Council, was reduced from £30 million to reflect KPMG’s co-operation with the five-and-a-half year investigation.

How are Big 4 partners salaries determined?

They are Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG), read more about each below. It’s important to understand how owning a part of the firm can change the partner compensation. Rather than a strict and absolute salary, partners get a share of the profits that the firm generates throughout the year.

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Through industry consolidation that began in 1989, what used to be the Big Eight has become the Big Four today. The eight, in alphabetical order, were Arthur Andersen, Arthur Young, Coopers & Lybrand, Deloitte Haskin & Sells, Ernst & Whinney, Peat Marwick Mitchell, Price Waterhouse, and Touche Ross—all U.S. or U.K. Despite repeated sanctions from regulators, the Big Four have seen continued challenges to audit quality and ethics as the 2020 decade comes to a close. In many cases, each member firm practices in a single country, and is structured to comply with the regulatory environment in that country.

With huge revenues, they can afford luxury offices in popular areas of the cities in which they are present. They are known for their high quality and rigorous approach, which creates a high level of confidence in their audit results. Here, about 44% of total revenue per fiscal year is generated from auditing, which is well ahead of all other competitors. Due to a series of mergers and acquisitions in the 1980s and 1990s, the Big 8 became first the Big 6 and eventually the Big 5, with Ernst & Whinney merging with Arthur Young to form Ernst & Young. In addition, Deloitte, Haskins & Sells merged with Touche Ross to form Deloitte & Touche.

None of the “firms” within the Big Four is actually a single firm; rather, they are professional services networks. Each is a network of firms, owned and managed independently, which have entered into agreements with the other member firms in the network to share a common name, brand, intellectual property, and quality standards. Each network has established a global entity to co-ordinate the activities of the network. The Big 4 accounting firms refer to the four largest in world today both in terms of revenues and employees. They provide professional services through a vast network of independent member firms around the world.

Students and professionals aspire to work within the Big Four, a nickname given to the four largest professional service organizations. Taking a look at the keyword counts we can see what is good and bad about each of the big 4 accounting firms from the perspective of the employees. Then in 1987, the first ‘mega merger’ of accounting firms happened when KMG merged with Peat Marwick to form KPMG. In addition to performing audits and other assurance services, the Big 4 provide tax advising and various management services. These certified public accounting (CPA) firms perform a majority of the audits required of U.S. corporations having stock that is publicly traded. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, popularly known as just “Deloitte”, was founded by William Deloitte in 1845.


Deloitte and its subsidiaries have more than 600 offices in more than 150 countries. Including offices in just about every US state, from California to Florida. In 2012 the company built Deloitte University to train its current and future employees. The busy season typically begins at the start of the calendar year with many reports and returns due between January and April.

The development towards today’s Big 4 began in the late 1980s, when two mergers created a Big 6. Ernst & Whinney merged with Arthur Young to form Ernst & Young (later stylised as EY), while Deloitte, Haskins and Sells merged with Touche Ross to form Deloitte and Touche. In the late 1990s, the Big 6 became the Big 5 when Price Waterhouse merged with Coopers and Lybrand to form PricewaterhouseCoopers (later stylised as PwC). Ernst & Whinney merged with Arthur Young to form Ernst & Young; and Deloitte, Haskins & Sells with Touche Ross to form Deloitte Touche. Then in 1998, Price Waterhouse merged with Coopers & Lybrand to form PricewaterhouseCoopers, famously known as PwC.

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