Who are the Top Ten Accounting Firms?

The Milestone Team July 15, 2021
top 10 accounting firms

Accounting firms earn billions of dollars each year for the services they provide clients around the world, and prominently in the US. With the resources, staffing, and reputations of the largest—and wealthiest— accounting firms, many companies look to them because it’s an easy option.

This list is compiled each year of the top 100 accounting firms, similar to how you’d see top universities ranked, in part to attract new talent and be able to stake their claim to successful enterprises. But placement is also used as a marketing tool for attracting businesses who are looking for the best-of-the-best outsourced accounting firms to meet their needs for outsourced accounting services.

If you’re a business owner who might see the revenue numbers from these accounting firms and think one of them might be the right choice for your team, remember that the largest, richest accounting firms won’t always be the choice that’s right for your business.

What are the top ten US accounting firms by net revenue for 2020?

The top level of US accounting firms consist of the “Big 4”, which represent the bulk of the group in revenue, size, and resources. The second group is considered the mid-level tier, and still net billions each year cumulatively.

The Big Four Accounting Firms

Deloitte – This massive accounting firm is consistently in the Big Four, and its reach spans across over 150 countries. With well over 310,000 employees, they recently joined a partnership with Apple. In 2020, Deloitte brought in a whopping $21.9 billion in just the US alone.

PwC – Another Big Four accounting firm, PwC is the second largest firm with about 276,000 employees in 157 countries. Based in New York, the firm has acquired many other firms to expand its reach, and in 2020 the firm brought in $17.4 billion in the US. Some other notable moves by PwC include being the only Big Four firm to accept bitcoin from its clients as an acceptable form of payment. And in 2017, PwC announced it would be responsible for GE’s global accounting needs.

EY – Ernst and Young, while based in London, England, remains a top US accounting firm—one of the Big Four—and employs over 300,000 workers across over 150 countries. Notably, in 2013 the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church used the professional services of EY to review the church’s finances. It has recently expanded operations into cybersecurity in both the US, India, and other countries. In 2020, their net revenue was $15 billion in the US.

KPMG – Coming in just shy of $10 billion in US net revenue in 2020, KPMG is the smallest of the Big Four with 227,000 employees in 127 countries. It focuses on three primary buckets of service: tax, financial audit, and advisory. It’s known unofficially as the preferred place to work out of the Big Four accounting firms.

Mid-Tier Accounting Firms

After the Big Four, the following six accounting firms represent the mid-tier accounting firms in terms of net revenue. Even combined, their annual net revenues don’t compete with the bigger firms. Still, these are responsible for a huge amount of the accounting, tax, advisory, and auditing services for businesses looking to outsource their accounting needs.

The following include:

  • RSM US – $2.7 billion
  • Grant Thornton – $1.95 billion
  • BDO – $1.8 billion
  • CLA – $1.15 billion
  • Crowe Horwath – $983 million
  • CBIZ & MHM – $811 million

Research each of these, and you’ll see that, unlike the Big Four, many of these firms branch out geographically further into the Midwest, and sometimes West coast. Traditionally, the Big Four are New York companies, and the smaller accounting firms look to grow their numbers in different markets.

Which accounting firm is best?

The best accounting firm is not necessarily going to be on the top ten list based on revenue. It may not be in the top twenty or thirty list, either. The best option is the firm that knows your business, understands your goals, and has the specific level of expertise to achieve them.

The risk of using one of the top ten accounting firms for your business’ needs is that you might get lost in the fray, without getting the specified, expert assistance you need. Milestone is a company that understands that growing businesses still require and deserve the most expert-level service when it comes to outsourced accounting.

We understand your back office isn’t just a burden to manage, but a potential tool that can help you grow your business, and our specialized team knows how to learn your business to provide the best resources and assistance. Click here to learn more about our business model and how we can transform your back-office functions into a competitive advantage for your company.

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