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PwC’s Prestige Will Take a Backseat to No Firm

On Tuesday, Ernst & Young became the third surprise victor in the Vault Accounting 50; the first Big 4 firm to take the honor since the change in methodology for the 2011 list. It's a comeback of sorts for E&Y who has basically been the butt of many, many, many Lehman Brothers jokes. For some people, the Vault 50 is a dubious honor specifically because the methodology gives weight to culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, job satisfaction – things that people pretend they care about (okay, maybe they really care about money). But honestly, isn't what people care about it name recognition? Reputation? That certain something that, when someone walks in the room, you think to yourself, "I bet his/her excrement has not scent at all!" That's what people are really concerned with when it comes to their accounting firm of choice, right?  Oh, fuck it – who knows. Let's just get to the list:  

1 (1) PwC

2 (3) Ernst & Young

3 (2) Deloitte

4 (4) KPMG

5 (5) Grant Thornton

6 (6) McGladrey

7 (7) BDO

8 (8) Moss Adams

9 (9) J.H. Cohn

10 (11) Crowe Horwath

11 (10) Plante Moran

12 (17) Baker Tilly Virchow Krause

13 (18) Reznick Group

14 (12) Clifton Gunderson

15 (16) BKD

16 (13) EisnerAmper

17 (15) Rothstein Kass

18 (25) Wipfli

19 (19) Dixon Hughes Goodman

20 (20) Cherry, Bekaert & Holland

21 (24) ParenteBeard

22 (23) CBIZ

23 (27) Marcum

24 (30) Eide Bailly

25 (22) WeiserMazars

The problem with the prestige list is that it's predictable. PwC will be number 1, E&Y and Deloitte will swap 2 and 3 here and there and KPMG is far off the medal stand. Things will remain this way until Arthur Andersen gets the Lazarus treatment. 

Accounting Firms Rankings 2013: Prestige [Vault]