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Here’s How Clients Rank Big 4 Risk Advisory (Or Something, We Aren’t Really Sure)

an illustration of a bunch of bananas that inexplicably works for an article on a ranking

The stock photo site we use tagged this image under “ranking,” let’s just go with it.

So KPMG put out a press release about receiving top rankings across multiple categories in the 2023 Source client perceptions study, of course we felt compelled to go check the study out to see what that was all about. Here’s what we were greeted by:

This is like the worst game of cat’s cradle ever. OK, let’s try to make sense of it and dump the Big 4 figures into a table, we shall ignore Grant Thornton and BDO as per usual.


The report’s responses were gathered from a survey of 300 executives, directors, and senior managers in the US who were presented with a list of 16 risk advisory firms and asked to comment on three of those most familiar to them even if they hadn’t worked with them. The “aided awareness” score was derived from how quickly respondents chose that particular firm, for Deloitte that meant reaching the quota of 100 responses first. Does that make sense? IDK, does any of this?

Some of the factors are self-explanatory, some are not. “Attributes” was a list of 17 things like culture, ESG, quality of thought leadership, and all that other garbage that firms love cranking out and bragging about. From there the firms were ranked from 1 to 5 and a score calculated based on how many “good” or “very good” marks the firm received.

All we’re taking from this is that EY and PwC are lagging behind in awareness and KPMG is tied with Deloitte for Competitive Resilience which isn’t defined in the report extract so…

KPMG got a badge for it though!

Perceptions of Risk Firms in 2023 [Source Global Research]