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Big 4 Still Dominate Vault’s Prestige Rankings

This morning we’ll take a break from Vault’s Accounting 50, and bestow their prestige list upon you since style trumps substance in just about every facet of society these days.

So enough chit-chat, here are the top ten firms whose shit stinks the least (prior year ranking in parenthesis):

1 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP New York, NY (1)
2 Ernst & Young LLP New York, NY (2)
3 Deloitte (Accounting Practice) LLP New York, NY (3)
4 KPMG LLP New York, NY (4)
5 Grant Thornton LLP Chicago, IL (5)
6 BDO USA LLP Chicago, IL (9)
7 McGladrey & Pullen LLP/RSM McGladrey Inc. Bloomington, MN (7)
8 Moss Adams LLP Seattle, WA (6)
9 Plante & Moran, PLLC Southfield, MI (8)
10 J.H. Cohn LLP (Accounting Practice) New York, NY (11)

You’ll note the “NR” behind PwC, E&Y and KPMG. It appears the reason for this comes from last year’s prestige list that shows only the “consulting practice.” We’re awaiting the clarification from our friends at Vault and we’ll update you just as soon as we know the story. Just a glitch, sayeth Vault. We’ve updated above.

But if you make the assumption that the consulting practices were the accounting firms, As you can see, the top five firms are exactly the same. You probably also noticed that the top ten in the prestige list is vastly different from the top ten in Vault Accounting 50. With the exception of Deloitte and PwC, none of the firms in the prestige top ten appear in the Accounting 50. So if you’re a prestige whore and work/life/culture is meaningless, the Big 4 and the rest of the usual suspects will be your taskmasters of choice.

As for the rest:

11 Eisner LLP New York, NY (10)
12 Clifton Gunderson LLP Milwaukee, WI (19)
13 Crowe Horwath LLP Oak Brook, IL (12)
14 Rothstein Kass Roseland, NJ (16)
15 BKD, LLP Springfield, MO (20)
16 Reznick Group, P.C. Bethesda, MD (22)
17 Weiser LLP New York, NY (18)
18 Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP Chicago, IL (17)
19 Cherry, Bekaert & Holland LLP Richmond, VA (15)
20 Amper Politziner & Mattia, LLP Edison, NJ (13)
21 Dixon Hughes PLLC High Point, NC (25)
22 LarsonAllen LLP Minneapolis, MN (14)
23 CBIZ & Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. Cleveland, OH (26)
24 Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP New York, NY (21)
25 Novogradac & Company LLP San Francisco, CA (29)
26 UHY Advisors, Inc. Chicago, IL (31)
27 Marcum LLP Melville, NY (30)
28 Wipfli LLP Milwaukee, WI (44)
29 ParenteBeard LLC Philadelphia, PA (24)
30 Beers + Cutler PLLC Vienna, VA (23)
31 Friedman LLP New york, NY (58)
32 Elliott Davis, LLC Greenville, SC (28)
33 Marks Paneth & Shron LLP New York, NY (35)
34 Berdon LLP New York, NY (36)
35 Citrin Cooperman & Company, LLP New York, NY (38)
36 Eide Bailly LLP Fargo, ND (39)
37 WithumSmith+Brown, PC Princeton, NJ (41)
38 Margolin, Winer & Evens LLP Garden City, NY (40)
39 Stonefield Josephson, Inc. Los Angeles, CA (34)
40 Blackman Kallick Chicago, IL (69)
41 Aronson & Company Rockville, MD (59)
42 Schneider Downs & Co., Inc. Pittsburgh, PA (51)
43 Burr Pilger Mayer, Inc. San Francisco, CA (45)
44 Watkins, Meegan, Drury & Company, L.L.C. Bethesda, MD (53)
45 Frank Rimerman & Co. LLP Palo Alto, CA (47)
46 Goodman & Company, LLP Virginia Beach, VA (46)
47 SS&G Financial Services, Inc. Cleveland, OH (NR)
48 Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP Atlanta, GA (37)
49 RubinBrown St. Louis, MO (27)
50 Kaufman, Rossin & Co. Miami, FL (43)

Notables: Top 3 firm Rothstein Kass drops in at 14 here; recently merged Eisner and Amper fall in at 11 and 20 respectively; familiar names like Clifton, Crowe, BKD, Reznick, Weiser, BTVK and CB&H fill in the rest of the top twenty.

Big Moves: Wipfli, Friedman, Blackman Kallick and Aronson & Company all experienced double-digit moves up while Habif, Arogeti & Wynne and RubinBrown dropped the furthest.

Feel free to discuss any of these firms from a prestige standpoint (or lack thereof) and definitely get in touch with us with sterling examples which may or may not include partners who have the tendency to get into fisticuffs. It doesn’t appear to affect a firm’s ranking all that much.

Accounting Firms Rankings 2011: Prestige [Vault]
The 50 Most Prestigious Accounting Firms [Vault]