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What are the top accounting firms?

This article briefly describes the top accounting firms in the world. Their ranking relies on the revenues that they generated in 2010 and the size of their workforce. Other details such as formation through mergers and foundation date are also available.

The big 4

The global accounting sector is one of the most active industries in the world with multi-national firms that have a presence in developed, middle income and developing countries. These firms provide professional services covering the following areas: - Audit
- Consultancy
- Financial advisory
- Tax processing
- Advisory Top companies The top companies in this sector include the professional service firms, popularly known as the Big 4, that had combined revenues of $100 billion by 2010, and a workforce of more than 600,000 employees. These firms are Deloitte, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (E&Y) and KPMG. Deloitte As of 2010, Deloitte led the pack after being among the group for more than a decade and clinching the top spot with revenues of $26.578 billion and 170,000 employees across all continents. The London-based Deloitte dates back to 1845, and unlike most of the Big 4, has had few mergers or consolidations since then.

Mergers and acquisition

PwC closely followed Deloitte with revenues of $26.569 billion and a labour force of 162,000 across all continents. The firm lost the top spot to its perennial challenger despite seeing a rise in revenue of 1.5 per cent over 2009. PwC began operations in 1849 in London, and took its current form in 1998 when Price Waterhouse joined forces with Coopers and Lybrand. E&Y The third biggest accounting firm is E&Y that had revenues of $21.3 billion in 2010, down from $21.4 billion in 2009. The London-based firm has a workforce of 144,000 employees and a global presence. E&Y took its current form in 1989 after several firms, dating back to 1849. KMPG Last in the group is KMPG (initials of smaller accounting firms that merged), that posted revenues of $20.6 billion in 2010, and has a workforce of 138,000 employees. The Holland-based company began operations in 1870 with its current form coming about in 1987 through a series of mergers. Apart from these, there are several other accounting firms across the globe that participate in the trillion dollar professional services sector, and some are as old as the Big 4.

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