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September 24, 2023

Just How Many People Left Big 4 Firms Last Year?

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Just how many people left Big 4 firms — voluntarily or not — in 2022? About 56,600 according to this CFO Journal piece published on WSJ this morning. For this year, the number is about 21,400 through June, a 11.6% drop from the same period the year prior. That’s from workplace data analyzed by Revelio Labs. This year marks the first year the number of leavers has decreased rather than increased since 2019.

The article also says job postings at Deloitte, EY, and KPMG across all service lines were down 76% in July from the year before per analysis by investment bank William Blair & Co. They don’t track PwC “due to an inability to determine the number of positions on its internal job postings board” but PwC recruiters we’ve spoken to say they’re still doing plenty of hiring. The decrease in hiring is attributed to low attrition, decreased client demand for services, and firms overhiring prior to the business slowdown. Commenters are welcome to drop their own theories in the comments.

So there’s no shortage then, right?

Big Four Accounting Firms Pare Their Consultant Ranks in Postpandemic Reversal [WSJ]

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  1. I’ve called bullshit many times before on the supposed “talent shortage crisis” in accounting. Now would seem to be a good time to call bullshit again. I continue to contend that any company in America can fill any accounting position with a qualified candidate in a reasonable period of time if the company is willing to pay the market rate for said talent. The real crisis is the assholes who run businesses thinking that accountants aren’t worth the money.

    I’ve also said before that the high turnover at public accounting firms (even if just a little lower than normal), is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It’s good for the firms because it allows them to continue to promote the people who stay and also bring in fresh talent. And its good for the staff because the high turnover is an indicator that their skills and experience are in high demand in private industry.

    1. The real crisis is the assholes who run businesses thinking that accountants aren’t worth the money.

      I’ve started emailing media contacts to ask for salary numbers if they aren’t readily available any time an entity claims they can’t find accounting talent.

  2. The industry model needs to change. The folks entering PA don’t see value in the hours they are forced to work vs. the pay. Consider an imputed hourly rate that equates with a job at Walmart! Not to mention, in an era of immediate gratification, why would associates and even managers aspire to be partners. Making partner doesn’t carry the prestige it once did. Its like winning a pie eating contest with the prize being more pie.

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