Accounting firms have long been a major employer of MBAs, offering ambitious grads the chance to play a key role in corporate governance and be at the heart of global finance. But what are the best accounting firms to work for?
Despite the accounting industry’s recent role in high-profile corporate scandals—like Carillion, Thomas Cook, and Patisserie Valerie—the varied work, advancement opportunities, and prestige continues to attract MBAs.
To help grads decide which firms to target, the careers website, Vault, releases a ranking of the top accounting firms to work for every year.
The Accounting 50 list is based on a survey of more than 8,200 accountants, who rated their own firms on factors such as culture, hours, compensation, and work-life balance. They also rated the prestige of rival firms.
Big Four dominate the top spots
In rankings like these, the Big Four—KPMG, PwC, Deloitte and EY—often come out on top. This is largely thanks to their reputation for training staff in areas such as artificial intelligence and data analytics, making the work increasingly efficient and interesting.
This year, PwC retained its grip on the ranking, holding onto the top spot for the seventh year running.
PwC snagged the top spot yet again due to its strong ranking for prestige and its improved score across many quality of life factors.
PwC also rose five places for satisfaction, four places for culture, three places for hours worked, and one place for work-life balance.
Accountants at other companies reported that PwC had flexible work schedules, high profile clients, and "awesome benefits."
Meanwhile, Deloitte came in second place, thanks to its top billing in the ‘formal training’ metric. Deloitte also nabbed the second place spot for ‘prestige’—unsurprising since it’s a far larger firm than PwC in terms of revenue.
Employees at rival firms said in the survey that Deloitte have an “unmatched opportunity to learn and progress,” with top clients, highly intelligent employees, and a supportive environment.
In third place is KPMG. Accountants raved about its prestige, global client work and employees’ early exposure to high profile clients and complex accounting issues.
There are “new experiences everyday,” said one respondent. KPMG also came first in three out of four categories for diversity, including gender parity and LGBT diversity. PwC took the top spot for ethnic minority diversity, however.
When it came to quality of life Friedman, a smaller rival firm, ranked first. Friedman also came up trumps for culture, hours, overall satisfaction, travel requirements, relationships with supervisors and work-life balance.
Consultants at the firm say they get Fridays off for the entire summer, and the option to work remotely. One added that “people here care about your success at work and treat you with respect, not just like another number”.
While three of the ranking’s top spots were filled by Big Four companies, smaller firms such as Moss Adams, Plante Moran, and RSM, also performed strongly in terms of overall ranking. This was in part because they offer recruits a strong quality of life.
Grant Thornton, BDO, and Baker Tilly completed the top 10.
Here are the full rankings for the 25 best accountancy firms to work for in 2020.
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