The Big 4 

Anyone even remotely thinking about commerce probably heard this name someplace or other. So, what is it exactly? It refers to 4 biggest accounting firms in the world. They provide services in accounting & auditing, including taxation services, management & business consultancy, risk assessment & control. Before we jump in, let’s take a look at their history.

In the beginning…. wait… It wasn’t the beginning…. Hhhmm… Somewhere in the middle then. Anyways, at some point there were Big 8. 

1. Arthur Andersen

2. Arthur Young & Co.

3. Coopers & Lybrand 

4. Ernst & Whinney

5. Deloitte, Haskins & Sells


7. Touché Ross 

8. Price Waterhouse.

In 4 mergers over the years they were reduced to big 4.

In 1989, Ernst & Whinney merged with Arthur Young & Co. to form Ernst & Young. Same year Deloitte, Haskins & Sells merged with Touché Ross to form Deloitte Touché. In 1998, Price Waterhouse merged with Coopers & Lybrand to form PricewaterhouseCoopers aka PwC. In 2002, downfall of Arthur Andersen after its involvement in the Enron scandal reduced the number to Big 4.

Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu Limited

Deloitte, currently number 1 in Big 4, was founded by William Deloitte in 1845. It is also fastest growing considering its annual growth of 8%. In 2015, Deloitte was at second position with global revenue of $35.2 billion, but jumped to number 1 in 2016, at $36.8 billion. Deloitte is largest among the Big 4 in terms of number of employees which is approximately 244,400+ in 2016. The company is one consistently voted as one of the best employers to work for by Fortune Magazine.

 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

PwC is the second largest accounting firm in terms of revenue, viz. with $35.9 billion in 2016. It is formed by merger of two large accounting firms – Price Waterhouse with Coopers & Lybrand. They saw growth from year 2015 at $35.4 billion, although not as fast as Deloitte. Housing more than 223,400 professionals in 2016, it is third largest in terms of employee strength. PwC is considered one of the best large companies to work for, as they ranked number two in Diversity Inc. magazine in 2015.

 Ernst & Young (E&Y)

Starting with merger between Ernst & Whinney with Arthur Young, Ernst & Young was formed in 1989. With second largest employee capacity of 231,000+ in year 2016, they are sitting at third position in terms of revenue. Ernst & Young earned $29.6 billion in 2016 showing growth from previous year at $28.7 Billion. With E&Y having so many areas of interest; anyone in the accounting trade is sure to find a position that suites their specialization.

 Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG)

A global network of accounting firms KPMG is the 4th pillar in Big 4. More than 189,000 professionals are working with them. The merger of Peat Marwick International and Klynveld Main Goerdeler (KMG) was the beginning of KPMG in 1987. Showing growth in revenue from year 2015 at $24.44 Billion to $25.4 billion in 2016, they are neck to neck with other 3. KPMG hosts a very culturally diverse work environment and works with companies that are not yet as successful.

Now those of you who want to work at Big 4, do you have what it takes to impress them? One of the best ACCA institute in Mumbai, Zell education provides ACCA course training with other exciting events to get you ready for them. Going an extra mile for their students they have outperformed which reflects in their results.


You may also like

Impact of GST